40 Days Start Tomorrow

Pastor DaronCrossLife Blog

Forty days from tomorrow the Alleluias of Easter will echo, the lilies will explode in their brightly scented aroma, and Christians will rejoice in the newness of life made ours by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. 

For that to be possible, the choirs and bands and musicians must already be practicing, the florists must be gardening, and Christians must be preparing.

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the day that introduces us to the primary focus for the 40-day season of Lent: preparing for Easter. 

After all, what good would Easter be if Jesus hadn’t first suffered and died … if life hadn’t first been seized by Satan … if God hadn’t first thundered his angry judgment on each sinner … if sinners hadn’t first repented?

So beginning tomorrow I invite you to prepare in a special way.

You can give up something of little significance (like a favorite food item) as an aid for giving up a more significantly dangerous sin. 

You can spend extra time reading the Bible or gathering with friends at church to strengthen your fight in temptation’s darkest hour. 

You can listen to a spiritual podcast, say extra prayers, wear a special piece of jewelry shaped like a cross, give special gifts of charity, purchase Christian artwork for your home, or even get a new cross-shaped tattoo. 

It all helps prepare so that, come Easter, you’re not caught by surprise. So that, come Easter, you’re not so enamored by sinful pleasure that there’s no desire for newness of life. So that, come Easter, you’re not so engrossed in selfish busyness that you pass by the empty tomb with a distracted shrug.

It’ll take forty days. Forty days of disciplining the weak human will. Forty days of submitting to the ways of God. Forty days of fighting the stubbornly selfish nature. Forty days of walking with Jesus. 

Why not thirty-two days or fifteen days? Why forty days?

To be honest, the forty day period of Lent is not a command from God. It’s just a good idea of the church with its origins in the Bible. As it turns out, numerous periods of forty days or forty years in the Bible set the stage for this holy season and its purpose of preparation. Particularly, preparation through discipline, turmoil, temptation, and even death. Stay tuned the rest of this week and I’ll tell you about some of them.

PRAYER: Dear God, the next 40 days are going to prepare me for the ultimate triumph of Jesus and those who follow him. I want to celebrate the resurrection in all its fullness, so I pray for my preparations now. Strengthen my spirit. Hear my prayers. Draw me close. Here we go. 40 days. Amen.

FURTHER MEDITATION: How many 40-day periods in the Bible can you recall without searching online?