Pulpit Reflections By Rev. Joe Villalobos This is a special time of year for those of the Christian faith. The Lenten season is a time of penance, fasting, sacrificing and reflection for the purpose of drawing closer to God and pleasing him with how we live our lives for him. It is a 40 day period in preparation for Good Friday and Easter Sunday. The Lenten season takes place when the days are being lengthened by more daylight. How appropriate for the occasion, for the Bible tells us in the Gospel John 8:12: Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, "I am the light of the world. He who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life."
It is a time of waiting for something good to happen. We see it in nature; after a harsh winter we can look forward to springtime and the coming summer months.
During Lent, people give up things. We are reminded in 1 Samuel 15:22 that obedience is better than sacrifice. When Jesus went into the wilderness after his baptism, it was not about fasting but seeking the Father, being strengthened and drawing closer to the Father. It is much easier to bring a sacrifice to be burnt than to bring our thoughts and actions into obedience to God and the will subject to his will. Nothing is so provoking to God than disobedience.
To many, Lent is only a 40 day experience. It really has no spiritual value if we do not prepare to live our lives this way year around. Is your spiritual life really changed as a result of the Lenten season? This is where the reflection comes in. Look deep within your heart to see if you are walking a spiritual journey that is pleasing to God. One that is not predicated on only a 40 day time frame that ends after the 40 days.
Religious activity in itself has no value. It is the attitude of the heart towards obeying and loving God. May you find yourself desiring to walk with a pure heart before God. Don't just make it a 40 day Lenten experience, make it your lifestyle every day of the year. God will be pleased with you and you will experience the blessings of walking in obedience to God's will.
Rev. Joe Villalobos is pastor of the Faith Fellowship Church of the Open Bible of Vermillion.