The season of Lent is upon us - it begins Wednesday, March 1 and ends on Thursday, April 13 - and it is a special time where Christians prepare for Easter, the celebration of Christ's resurrection, with prayer, penance, and sacrifice.
While the term "Lent" is not directly identified in the Bible, the New Testament book of Matthew speaks of Jesus' period in the Judean Wilderness, where He spent 40 days and 40 nights in solitude, prayer, and fasting (Matthew 4). Thus, the forty days of Lent represent the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, enduring the temptation of Satan.
During this 40-day period today, believers work to decrease the things that detract from their individual faith journey and increase the things that strengthen it. Some observers choose to volunteer and give of themselves for others during this time, while others make personal vows of abstinence during this day, such as refraining from meat or chocolate, vowing not to gossip, or practicing greater humility.
As you focus on your spiritual renewal and growth this season of Lent, remember to reflect on your spiritual state, deepen your relationship with Christ, and thank Him for His tremendous sacrifice on the cross.
Bible Verses for Lent
Joel 2:12-14 - "Even now," declares the LORD, "return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning." Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and He relents from sending calamity. Who knows? He may turn and relent and leave behind a blessing - grain offerings and drink offerings for the LORD your God.
Ecclesiastes 3:20 - All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.
Genesis 3:19 - By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.
Matthew 6:16-18 - When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Mark 1:13 - And He was in the wilderness forty days being tempted by Satan; and He was with the wild beasts, and the angels were ministering to Him.
Matthew 4:1-11 - Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, He was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread."
Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'" Then the devil took Him to the holy city and had Him stand on the highest point of the temple. "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written: "'He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'" Jesus answered him, "It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'"
Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. "All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me." Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.'" Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
1 Peter 5:6 - Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.