Lent begins today, March 1. Lent is a season of forty days, not counting Sundays, that begin on Ash Wednesday and end on the day before Easter, Saturday. Lent means “spring,” and the 40 weekdays in Lent represent the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, enduring the temptation of Satan and preparing to begin His ministry. Sundays in Lent are not counted in the forty days because each Sunday represents a "mini-Easter" and the joyful anticipation of the resurrection.
In the early church, Lent was a time to prepare new converts for baptism. Today, Christians focus on their relationship with God, often choosing to give up something or to volunteer and give of themselves for others. For followers of Jesus Christ, Lent is a time of repentance, fasting, and preparation for the coming of Easter. It is a time of self-examination and reflection.
The typical things people give up during Lent are things like chocolate, meat, coffee - sacrifices, no doubt, but they often have little impact or value in our walk with Christ. Pastor Phil Ressler suggests instead that there are 40 things you might want to consider giving up for the rest of your life, not just for Lent. Why not try it? Keep checking back on these during Lent.Make this a period of significant growth.
FEAR OF FAILURE: You don’t succeed without experiencing failure. Just make sure you fail forward.
YOUR COMFORT ZONE: New discoveries are made outside our comfort zones.
FEELINGS OF UNWORTHINESS: You are fearfully and wonderfully made by your Creator (Psalm 139:14).
IMPATIENCE: God’s timing is the perfect timing.
RETIREMENT: As long as you are still breathing, you are here for a reason. You have a purpose to influence others for Christ. Our work is not always tied to a paycheck.
PEOPLE PLEASING: I can’t please everyone anyways. There is only One I need to strive to please.
COMPARISON: I have my own unique contribution to make and there is no one else like me.
BLAME: I am not going to pass the buck. I will take responsibility for my actions
GUILT: I am loved by Jesus and He has forgiven my sins. Today is a new day and the past is behind.
OVER COMMITMENT:Do less better and accomplish more.
LACK OF COUNSEL: Wise decisions are rarely made in a vacuum.
IMPURITY: Live lives pure and without blemish.
ENTITLEMENT: The world does not owe me anything. God does not owe me anything. I live in humility and grace.
APATHY: Life is too short not to care.
HATRED: Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21).
NEGATIVITY: I will put the best construction on everything when it comes to other people. I will also minimize my contact with people who are negative and toxic.
THE SPIRIT OF POVERTY: Believe that with God there is always more than enough and never a lack.
GOING THROUGH THE MOTIONS: The more you invest yourself, the more you will get back.
COMPLAINT: Instead of contributing to the problem, be the solution.
THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS: God wants something greater and more lasting than happiness. It is called joy.
BITTERNESS: The only person I am hurting by holding onto this is myself.
DISTRACTION: Life is filled with distractions that will take our eyes off the prize.
GIVING UP: God never gives up on us.
MEDIOCRITY: If you are going to do something, then give it all you got.
DESTRUCTIVE SPEECH: Encourage one another, and all the more as you see the day approaching (Hebrews 10:25).
BUSYNESS: It is a badge of honor to be busy. But that does not always translate to abundance.
LONELINESS: With Jesus I am never alone. He is with me wherever I go.
DISUNITY: If two of you agree on earth about anything, it will be done for you by your heavenly Father (Matthew 18:19).
THE QUICK FIX: Rarely does true transformation happen overnight.
WORRY: God is in control and worrying will not help.
IDOLIZING: Don’t assign anyone a standard they cannot live up to.
RESISTANCE TO CHANGE: Change is certain. It is not IF we will change, but HOW we will change.
PRIDE: Blessed are the humble.
SMALL VIEW OF GOD: Don’t tell God how big your problem is, tell your problem how big your God is.
ENVY: I am blessed. My value is not found in my possessions, but in my relationship with my heavenly Father.
UNGRATEFULNESS: You have been blessed in a way greater than you realize.
SELFISH AMBITION: God has a mission for me that is bigger than me.
SELF-SUFFICIENCY: Jesus is my strength. I can do all things through Him (Philippians 4:13).
SORROW: Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5b).
MY LIFE: Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life (John 12:25).