Christians observe Lent as a spiritual exercise based on scripture (Matthew 3:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-13) with Jesus fasting and praying and overcoming all the temptations from the devil with his unwavering focus on God. In our world today, there are many temptations that distract us from God’s plan for humanity.
Our temptations are not all that dissimilar from the ones that Jesus experienced — instant gratification and power. We live in an affluent society. If we are hungry, we reach into the fridge without a second thought. But imagine how you would feel if you hadn’t eaten for a couple of days and someone offered you a sandwich as a reward for doing something that compromised your values. Imagine not eating for 40 days!
Throughout our lives, we have heard that the ultimate goal is to be successful. How often do we fall prey to the god of power and consumerism? “If you get this car, you’ll be happy. Get this big house with high ceilings and inground swimming pool, then you’ll be happy. Get the best and latest technologies, your life will be complete.” What is the price we are willing to pay in order to get all those things? How much are we willing to compromise our values and what we know is right and godly to exercise that power? Jesus teaches us to keep our focus on God, not on material goods and earthly power (Matthew 4: 8-10).
Lent is a time to look deeply inside of ourselves, recognize the parts of us that need some work and make an earnest effort to correct what needs correction, and model our lives more closely to the life of Christ.