February 14th is a really important day in the Church calendar. Not because it is Valentine’s Day, but because this year it is the start of Lent. Easter comes early this year so the start of Lent, which begins on Ash Wednesday, actually falls on Valentine’s Day.

So what is Lent all about? Similar to Advent during the Christmas season, Lent is 40 days of preparation. However, instead of preparing for the birth of Christ like Advent does, Lent is a preparation for the death and resurrection of Christ. It is a time where a believer focuses on prayer, repentance, and self-denial. It lasts 40 days because it replicates Jesus’ 40 day journey in the dessert.

So what can you do during Lent? Here are a few options.

  • Give Up Something. During Lent people tend to give up things like candy, or something they really love as a way to make a sacrifice as Christ did. Other popular things to give up over the 40 days are social media, chocolate, and coffee, to name a few. Whatever it is, use that time as a way to reflect on Christ and seek to spend time praying or reading the Bible whenever you want to use social media or drink that cup of coffee.
  • Join an Online Bible Study. Right now the Online Campus at New Life is doing a Countdown to Easter Online Group where each day we will post a Bible verse and short devotional designed to help you grow closer to Christ. You can join the group here.
  • Get Daily Bible Verses as Encouragement via Text. Whether you want to join a group or not, you can get daily Bible verses sent to you each day during Lent that will encourage you. All you have to do is text “Easter” to 703-454-5990 and you will receive a daily Bible reading and some encouragement.

Practicing Lent can truly be a great exercise to grow closer to Christ. Remember, what makes this the most effective is if you heart is in it and you are earnestly seeking Christ. For instance, you may give up chocolate, but have a lapse one day and eat.  Don’t give up after that day. Simply start new the next day and as you feel that craving for chocolate, spend time praying to God and reflecting on who He is.

So, what are you going to do? Or, what other ways have you used the 40 days before Easter to grow closer to Christ? Share it below.