engaging Lent through the filter of humility

Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry. – Luke 4

img_8032Today, Sunday March 5, is the first Sunday in the season of Lent. Lent, if you’re not too familiar with the ebb and flow of the ecclesiastical calendar, is the 40-day run up to Easter. Lent started “Ash Wednesday” and will end Holy Saturday. If you’re adding up all the days, and come up with 46, that’s because Sundays don’t count.

There’s a lot we can do with this season on the church calendar. Any time that is set aside for self examination can be helpful, but Lent becomes particularly useful when we intend to navigate the forty days by looking through a distinct lens, or filter.

For me, that filter takes on a different form each year. In 2012, when my book Reaching Toward Easter was released, my brother – Geoff – passed away March 12, right in the middle of Lent. So my lens that year was grief, and my spiritual growth was significantly – positively – impacted by the last days of my brother’s life.

Humility as a prophetic word:

This year Reaching Toward Easter is still a timely guide, and I find myself both challenged and inspired by a book that continues to help me. But my lens in 2017 is humility. God has placed humility on my heart as a constant, insistent, not-so-subtle drumbeat, an emphasis that I am convinced needs to be understood as a prophetic word throughout the Christian community.

These, then, are the questions I’d like to pose this morning:

  1. “Where is God teaching you humility?”
  2. “What do you hope to achieve, spiritually, between now and Easter?”  And,
  3. “How might your journey through these forty days look, were you to listen to God’s voice and approach this spiritual season as a more intentionally humble disciple of Jesus?”

We cannot come to the table and expect to receive anything life changing or life challenging unless we are prepared to humble ourselves before God, and to step away from the pretense, the prevarication, and the pride that so often defines our approach to living.

We cannot come to the table and expect to receive anything life changing or life challenging unless we are prepared to humble ourselves before God…

I am asking God to strengthen my spiritual core between now and Easter Sunday. I want to arrive at Holy Week more naturally equipped to share the good news story of Jesus, and to tell it simply via the way that I live, and who I am.

I’d like to ask you to join me in this intention. But understand this: transformation at this level needs to begin on our knees. The scripture this morning points out that, at the end of forty days, Jesus was hungry; may we arrive at Easter hungry too – hungry for more of God…

Peace, and the blessing of the good promise – Derek 



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Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.

Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.

Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.

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