Summary: A short devotional for Lent Breakfasts. 10 minutes


MARCH 3, 2004

“Lent is a season of intense prayer, fasting and concern for those in need. It offers all Christians an opportunity to prepare for Easter by serious discernment about their lives, with particular attention to the word of God which enlightens the daily journey of all who believe.” Pope John Paul II, 7 January 2003

It was that word ’discernment’ that seemed to catch my eye. Lent is about discernment. Discernment is the act of trying to understand. The word used in Scripture tells us that discernment is the testing and examination of something to see if it is genuine or not. It was discernment that David pleaded for in Psalm 119. It was discernment and wisdom that Solomon asked for in 1 Kings 3. It was discernment that was Paul’s emphasis in Philippians 1:9-11: “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ--to the glory and praise of God.”

I think all of us want to be filled with the fruit of righteousness. What then do we need to look at? What questions should be asked?

From... Spirituality Today, Winter 1982, Vol. 34, No. 4, pp. 326-334

1. Where is Jesus? For Christians the focus in life is always on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. In the context of this faith commitment, we respond to Jesus’ call to "come and follow me" (Mark 10: 21). Ignatius perceptively noted this invitation of Jesus when posing the questions: "What have I done for Christ?" "What do I do for Christ?" and "What will I do for Christ?"

2. Church Community. Christian living is never done in a vacuum. Those who feel they can live the Christian life apart from the church are living a lie. Our decisions and choices are inextricably tied to the roles and relationships that envelop our life. As Christians, we must ask where the community of faith fits into our decisions and life choices. How are we serving our church and brothers and sisters in Christ? Do we cultivate our church life as we do other parts of our lives?

3. Love. The great Christian commandment is love, and Christians are called to a loving relationship of universal openness towards others. Jesus did say, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” This is the same love that Paul describes as patient, kind, not rude, not boastful, bearing all things, believing all things, hoping all things, enduring all things (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). How is our love with the people around us?

4. Spiritual Growth. The Christian obligation is not only to be in Christ (Galatians 3:20) but to grow as well. Paul characterized his own growth in the Lord and his Christian journey as a "race" in which the "prize" is "life in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:12-14). One of the biggest questions we need to be asking is are we growing? Are we craving the deep Bible studies or are we content with surface knowledge only? Are we actively seeking after Christ? Are we growing or are we still spiritual babies?

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