Day 1: Ash Wednesday
- Psalm 23:1-6
- Matthew 28:19–20
- John 14:16–17
Questions to consider:
- What is your favorite part of Lent?
- What are you afraid to start?
- If you took a step of faith into something new, what fears would you need to set aside?
- How does Jesus help you overcome those fears?
- How will you pursue the presence of God this Lent to overcome fear?
Plan of Action:
Make a commitment for the next 40 days to confront a fear and take a step towards a calling you have been afraid to live out. Put your commitment in writing and share it with another person.
Joshua takes over command for Moses. He had big shoes to fill. Would he be up to the task? No one would blame him for being afraid.
The first thing God says to him is:
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (ESV)
It’s the assigning of a new mission and the first thing God does is offer encouragement to be courageous in the face of fear. The hardest part is often starting.
We continually walk between faith and fear. These might seem mutually exclusive. But the reality is there is no faith without fear. Faith is taking that first step in spite of our fear. It is taking the leap knowing there is a chance we might fall.
The genesis of 40 Things to Give up for Lent was a commitment I made to write on my blog everyday for the 40 Days of Lent in 2014. It was fear holding me back. The writing is the easy part. The hard part is sharing. What if people don’t care or like what I have to say? Certainly there are other people who are better writers and have more worthwhile stuff to share. I had a hundred different excuses not to start. But I just started writing and sharing. A couple of days later, I shared 20 Things to Give up for Lent. It went viral on the internet. Because of the response to that original post, I began to write this 40 day devotional. None of this would have happened without taking that first step. The first step is the hardest. When you take that step, God opens amazing doors.
In the end, I hope this devotion is not so much about giving something up, but stepping into a greater calling. It is setting aside the fear of failure to grab hold of God’s calling on your life. Nothing worth doing will ever be easy. The best things are often the hardest things and the most fearful things.
It goes back to Jesus. Maybe that is why I love Lent so much. Lent for me is about the pursuit of God. It is the assurance of God’s presence that gives us confidence. In him we find the courage to overcome our fear of failure and to take the leap into this brave new world. The more we grasp the presence of God, the more we will have the courage to overcome our fears. When we go back to the words to Joshua, the reason to not be afraid is because God is with us wherever we go. Discover him and give up your fear.