Those who are forgiven much, love much (Luke 7:47).
When God shows us the depths of our sin and the heights of his holiness, our appreciation of his salvation is enlarged.
So, in preparation for celebrating Jesus’ sin-bearing death (Good Friday) and life-giving resurrection (Easter Sunday) it’s good to enter a season of repentance. This makes the joy of celebrating Easter even sweeter.
Use these Bible verses to help you.
Each Wednesday between now and Easter, take some time in your day to meditate on them.
Wednesday 14 February
Wednesday 21 February
Wednesday 28 February
Wednesday 7 March
Wednesday 14 March
Wednesday 21 March
Wednesday 28 March
How to meditate on the Bible
The biblical (Hebrew) word for meditation means to mumble or murmur.
So biblical meditation isn’t about emptying our minds and entering a zen state. It’s about taking God’s word and ruminating on it.
When we meditate, we fill our minds with God’s truth as he illumines the meaning of the words by his Holy Spirit.
So chew over what God has to say. Let the words sit in your mouth. Consider them.
Here are a few practical steps you can follow.
1. Find somewhere quiet. Turn off your phone. The idea is to be somewhere away from distractions and disturbances, if only for a few minutes.
2. Come prayerfully. Ask the Lord to impress the meaning of the words on your heart. You might use Psalm 119:18 – “Open my eyes to behold wondrous things out of your law”.
3. Read the verses slowly. It helps to do this out loud so that you hear the sounds of the words.
4. Pause if you hit a particular word or phrase that stands out. Perhaps you read the phrase “you were not willing” and this makes you reflect on how you’ve been asserting your own will and not submitting to God’s will. Turn these thoughts into prayer and repentance before God.
5. If nothing in particular stands out, keep reading the verses slowly. It may take some repetition before you really ‘see’ something. Sometimes it helps to emphasise different words as you read. This gives the verse a slightly different feel and can trigger new thoughts and reflections.
6. End in prayer, asking the Lord to seal in your heart all that he’s shown you.
How to fast
Fasting and repentance often go together in the Bible. It can be helpful to give up meals to focus on hunger for God instead.
As John Piper puts it: “We are putting our stomach where our heart is to give added intensity and expressiveness to our ache for Jesus.”
Practically speaking, you can simply give up one meal in your day, whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Or you can fast for 24 hours. This is usually done by starting the fast on the previous evening, so fasting from dinner on one day to dinner the next.
However long you choose to fast for, use the time that you would be preparing, buying or eating food for prayer and meditation.
If you fast for a day or more, try not to break your fast with rich food. Go for foods like fresh fruit (especially melon, grapes, apples, pears – better than citrus fruits) and vegetables, fruit juice and yoghurt.