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Lent: seek hard after God

March 16, 2009

by Rev. Bill Hillyer, Saving Grace Lutheran Church, Delano

How much time do you spend seeking after God? King David says in Psalm 63:8, “My soul seeks hard after You!” Are you seeking God in your daily activities and in quiet times throughout the week?

The Lenten season gives us a chance to do just that. It is a time to reflect on all those habits in our life that may be keeping us from God or pulling us away from Him. It is the season where we can turn our lives back towards the ways of God. Lent is a time to seek hard after Him.

Christians over the years have learned that certain disciplines and practices help them keep their heart turned toward God. These spiritual disciplines help Christians move from surface-level Christianity into the real depths of a life lived for God. This lifestyle is not just for great leaders of the faith like Martin Luther, John the Baptist, pastors, or other church leaders, but it is a type of lifestyle that God calls ordinary Christians to.

Spiritual disciplines are to be practiced three ways: inwardly, outwardly, and corporately. Lutherans practice the corporate disciplines in the public worship service. The inclusion of confessing our faith publicly, and confessing our sins publicly are both corporate disciplines that are designed to draw God’s people closer to their creator and to each other.

Inward spiritual disciplines help to keep our relationship with God in good working order, and even help develop our intimacy with God. These inward spiritual disciplines include: meditation (personal devotions), prayer time, fasting, and Bible study.

The outward disciplines are simplicity of life, solitude, submission, and service. These disciplines oftentimes find themselves being worked out in our lives as we respond to the Gospel within us.

The spiritual disciplines are not an option to the Christian life, they really go part-and-parcel with walking the Christian life. Note in Matthew 6:16 that Jesus said, “when you fast . . . ” not, “if you fast . . .”

Being able to live a balanced, Christian life means that God has priority in every area of your life. Are there areas of your life that seem far from God, or areas that you would rather He not know about? Learning to include the spiritual disciplines in your daily life will help give you a balanced Christian life that seeks God first and helps you to sort out the priorities of life. It will help you give all areas of your life over to God.

If you are looking for ways to become more disciplined in your Christian walk, or would just like to feel closer to God, ask your pastor for help. The pastor will be able to direct you to a good Bible reading plan, some good books on the devotional life, or maybe even a good Internet blog that can assist in your spiritual journey.

The time of Lent can be an exciting time in the Christian’s walk with God. I like to think of it as spiritual spring cleaning. Cleaning isn’t always fun – but it is always worth the effort.

Lent gives us the time to clean up our own spiritual house so that we can be prepared for Easter morning and the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead and His victory over sin, death, and the devil. May this Lenten season be a time of reflection, repentance, and reprioritizing as you seek hard after God.