Oh ah, just a little bit,
oh ah, a little bit more . . .

So sang Gina G as the British entry in the 1996 Eurovision Song Contest. Quite forgettable really (except that I’ve remembered it) but in a strange way it reminds me of what I need to be doing as a Christian in the run up to Easter.

The period before is Easter in the Christian calendar is, of course, Lent. Beginning with Ash Wednesday (26th February this year), lent is traditionally about prayer, repentance, abstinence and almsgiving, although when I stop to think about it, these are all spiritual disciplines that I should be practising all year round. Drawing closer to the Lord through prayer; prioritising time with him above some of the other demands on my life and cutting down (or out) some of things that tend to get in the way; giving up some of my bad habits and allowing the Holy Spirit to get to work on some of my worst traits; giving money away, cheerfully, generously, sacrificially.

Though it doesn’t sound much like fun, these are all things that will make me more fully alive, vibrant, aware, a real Kingdom person. My attitude to the penitential season is a barometer of how well I am doing at being godly, how serious I am about following Jesus and letting the Holy Spirit mould me, shape me and fill me. As George Herbert suggests in his poem Lent:

True Christians should be glad of an occasion
To use their temperance, seeking no evasion,
When good is seasonable; . .

. . . We cannot reach our Saviour’s purity;
Yet we are bid, ‘Be holy ev’n as he,’
In both let’s do our best . . .

. . . Who goeth in the way which Christ hath gone,
Is much more sure to meet with him, than one
That travelleth by-ways:

Lent is an opportunity for becoming a more Christ-like Christian. It is about getting serious with God – something I should be doing anyway, but during the run up to Easter something I can be doing, as even Gina G says,
oh ah . . . just a little bit more.

Geoff Cook
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