Over the winter it is easy to get complacent and lethargic. It has been cold and now it is rainy. My fishing gear, lawn care items and other spring/summer equipment has been in storage-mode. I could just forget about all of it and wait till warmer weather. But what I have learned is that those times of quiet, reflection and stillness are also times to do the maintenance and care I can't do during busier summer months. So I oil my reels and check the strength of my line. I clean up that lawn equipment and make sure I have everything necessary for using it during the coming months. That mindset is very much an allegory for Lent.
Lent is a time when we consider our mortality, our sinful nature, our spiritual health and our need for God's forgiveness and God's care. We take time, effort and energy to keep our faith in working order. We check for the strong and weak places. We allow God to come in an do that good work only He can do. It is a great time of the year and it is a necessary part of our Christian journey.
We do this care and maintenance because 1 Peter 5:8 reminds us that our enemy is persistent. Peter says, "Stay alert!" Our enemy is prowling around and he never relents from his pursuit of those he can devour. During Lent we take inventory of ourselves. We ask the hard questions ... "How are things with my soul?" ... "How can I become more open to God so that God will be able to teach, mold and use me?" ... "What spiritual disciplines (praying, fasting, journaling, studying, worshiping, reading, serving, giving) can I employ so that God has total access to me?" ... "What are my weaknesses?" ... "What do I need to give to God so that God will be able to grow me? While most of us think of Lent as passive and reflective, it should be that good kind of work that brings you the tiredness of completion and fulfillment.
We also do this "soul-care" because we are called to (Acts 2:42-47) "continue" in the faith. Luke, the writer of Acts, says or implies this attribute of the Christian walk in the words of Acts. Luke understood that our faith, our life as a Christian and our journey with Jesus is not a passive endeavor. The enemy is persistent so we must also be persistent. The enemy is at war with us and for us to live in an attitude of peace, we must be vigilant, constant and focused. Jesus said to be watchful for we never know when we will be challenged and we never know when Jesus will return.
May your Lenten season be filled with growth and productive maintenance of something of great value ... your soul! Randy