Time to reflect


There’s a story in the bible set in the final days before Jesus steps into the public eye. Jesus spends 40 days in the wilderness where he faces a series of temptations. He’s tempted to turn away from God and instead focus on more worldly things – wealth, position, power. But he resists and stays true to the path God has called him to follow.

I don’t know whether Jesus went into real physical desert or a wilderness of the mind. I don’t know whether he spent 40 days there or just ‘quite a long time’ (which is what 40 days/years usually means in the bible!) But I’m pretty sure that he was going through a time of deep reflection on his life as it was and as it should be. And he came out the other side of that time determined to do what God was asking him to do.

Every year in Lent we are given 40 days to look at ourselves and our lives in the same way. Do we follow God’s way, or do we stray from the path to follow the way of the world? Does the way we live show value God and each other, or does it show we are more interested in wealth and position? Do we seek to live good lives contributing to our whole community, or do we live as though only we and a tight circle of family matter?

Such self-examination isn’t easy, but it is invaluable – you could call it an annual ‘spiritual health’ check. A check to make sure we’re not preaching one thing but doing another. A check to ensure we stay on the right track, God’s track based on grace, hope and love. Lent has arrived – I pray we all use it wisely.