Lenten Devotion

Posted on March 11, 2019


Last Wednesday was Ash Wednesday, marking the start of the season of Lent.  Lent is the 46 days[1] leading up to Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection.  This is a time for many Christians to focus on spiritual disciplines to draw closer to Jesus.  This often involves fasting from something.  Sometimes instead of fasting from something, one can add something as a spiritual discipline.

If you are married and reading this, I know you have not been the spouse you have called to be.  I know this because we have all fallen short.  If you immediately began thinking about how your partner has fallen short, you are missing the point.  You can only control you.  You are only responsible for you.  May I suggest that his could be a season to repent and work on reconciliation as a spiritual discipline?

What might that look like?  If your tendency is to focus on your needs instead of your partner’s, you could make a spiritual discipline of first considering what is best for your partner, how you can make your partner feel most loved and valued.

If your tendency is to be critical, fast from criticism and offer only positive affirmations as a spiritual discipline.

If your tendency is to become defensive when your partner brings a complaint, fast from defensiveness and listen to your partner’s concerns until your partner feels understood.  Show genuine caring for your partner’s experience.

If you have a tendency toward sarcasm, name calling, or rolling your eyes when your partner is talking, fast from those things.

If there is an incident long past that keeps coming up, take the time to find out why this was so significant to your partner.  Apologized for your partner’s pain over the incident.

Fast from negativity.  Fast from selfishness.  Fast from harshness.

Any of these have much more power in the kingdom than does giving up coffee or ice cream.

If you don’t know what might be helpful, you can always ask your spouse what things would make him or her feel more loved and cherished.  The Great Commandment that we love each other should be our witness in our closest relationships.  You will still fall short, but keep trying.  After you hang with it for 40 days, it might become a permanent habit.

[1] It’s a 40 day liturgical season if you take out the Sundays.