What Does The Bible Say About Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday is one of the most important days in the Christian calendar and is the opening of ‘Lent’, the time period before Easter Sunday. This day is marked by Christians across the world by observing a day of fasting, self-examination, repentance, prayer and abstention from sin. In the Bible, Ash Wednesday is referenced indirectly in the Old Testament as well as New Testament as a day to come and repent from your sins, put away your evil ways and start anew.

The Old Testament references of Ash Wednesday come from the book of Joel, where it is written: “Return to me with all your heart, and fast, and weep unto me, and rend your hearts and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness, and repenteth of the evil.” In this verse, it is obvious that God, as should all of us, expects us to take too heart the act of self-reflection and repentance during Lent and most significantly on Ash Wednesday.

The New Testament also provides us with references to Ash Wednesday. Matthew 6: 16-17 says: “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” This verse emphasizes the need to take Ash Wednesday and this whole period of Lent seriously and in public.

The Bible really focuses on the significance of observing Ash Wednesday in a spiritual manner and giving it the importance it deserves. It wants us to know that it shouldn’t be a ritualistic or fake endeavor but that it should be done in a sincere manner as God’s eye is always upon us. It also shows us that fasting is an important part of this day, and that we should take this day to realign ourselves with the will of God in humbleness and openness.

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of a forty-day period leading up to Easter Sunday, a celebratory day for Christians across the world. During this time of Lent, it is encouraged for Christians to study scripture, fast and pray to truly prepare for Easter and to take an honest evaluation of their lives and where they should improve.

Throughout this period, Christians are expected to humble themselves, give up certain worldly possessions, and dedicate their time to God. Those participating in Ash Wednesday and Lent should strive for purity of heart and to always listen to God. Over all, Ash Wednesday should be a time of reflecting on where God has brought us since the last time and what we would like to strive for in the future.

Engage in Meaningful Prayer and Reflection

Ash Wednesday is a time to focus on prayer and reflection, being conscientious of your thoughts and actions. It’s important to take yourself through a spiritual evaluation, to identify, challenge and repent any sinful thoughts and actions. This can be done through effective prayer as prayer gives us the opportunity to talk with and confess to God, as well as finding promises and comfort in scripture.

When you are engaging in prayer and reflection on Ash Wednesday, it is important to recognize the power of the Holy Spirit, who leads us and is always with us. The Holy Spirit is an avenue for greater understanding, knowledge, and comfort. It allows us to evaluate our thoughts, feelings and behaviour without judgement, while enabling us to correspond with the truth that is found in scripture.

Take some time to meditate on the stories and passages that can be found in the Bible, and use the time of Ash Wednesday to remember the bigger picture, of our relationship with God and how that affects our everyday lives. This is a time for soul searching, to think about how our decisions, words, and actions align with our faith. Make sure to save some time on Ash Wednesday to sit in stillness, to reflect and to be in the presence of God.

Abstain From Sin

In addition to engaging in meaningful prayer and reflection, it is important to also abstain from sin on Ash Wednesday. Abstaining from sin is an important part of the Lenten season, and particularly on Ash Wednesday. This means refraining from anything that would keep us from growing in Our faith, our relationship with God and our spiritual life.

It is important to use this time of Lent to abstain from indulging in activities that do not bring us closer to God and instead keep us further away. This includes activities such as excessive alcohol, gossip, wasting time on unnecessary media and activity, lying, taking part in activities that are not beneficial to your spiritual growth, and any other activity or thought can create a disconnect between us and God.

While we not aim to abstain from any activities that can take away from our faith, it can be difficult to achieve this goal. It is important to develop a plan to focus on that can help you to stay on track. Making a list of activities that are useful and beneficial for your spiritual growth and writing down scripture that aligns with your goals can help serve as motivation, reminders, and strength to stay away from sin.

Live a Generous Life

Another way we can honor and respect Ash Wednesday is by living a generous life. A generous heart is something that we are called to emulate from Jesus Christ himself and living a generous life directly affects our spiritual life and impacts Ash Wednesday in a positive way. It is important to recognize the importance of being generous with your time, items and in your actions, as these small acts can have a big impact.

Being generous with your time is essential and shows the love that you have for a higher power and fellow man. Doing something small but meaningful for those in need, like volunteering, or giving can help us to focus on something larger than ourselves and our own needs. You can also be generous with possessions or items by giving away something that you no longer use but can be beneficial to someone else.

Generosity can also be shown in smaller, everyday acts like smiling at somebody, offering words of encouragement, blessing those around you, or even simply refraining from complaining. Being generous does not always involve money, it is more about loving others and seeking to do good to those around you.

Share the Word of God

Another way to honour Ash Wednesday and an important part of your spiritual journey is to share the Word of God with others. The Bible is a book of profound wisdom, truth and beauty and we are encouraged to share its wonder with friends, family and strangers alike. One way to do this is by praying together, worshipping together, or simply discussing the scriptures. Sharing your faith strengthens your own religious conviction and allows them to engage more with the Bible.

We are also encouraged to share the Bible with those who are not familiar with the Bible’s teachings. Understandably, this is a difficult conversation to have and can be scary, but it can have so much impact, and the reward is great. Making a conscious effort to reach out to those who are not familiar with Christianity can be extremely beneficial, and you never know how you are impacting someone with the invitation, just by starting the conversation.

So, it is important to take advantage of Ash Wednesday as a day of spiritual discovery and renewal. Take the opportunity to use it wisely and to go deep within your soul and focus on the divine connection we all share. As Lent begins, remember the power of prayer and dedicating yourself each day to living life in the presence of the Lord.

Marcos Reyna is a Christian author and speaker. He is dedicated to helping create disciples of Christ through spreading the power of the gospel to others. He has written several books and articles on a variety of theological topics, including matters of faith, worship, biblical studies, practical ethics, and social justice. A trained theologian and devotee of spiritual writing, Marcos has a mission to spread Christian love everywhere. He lives with his family in Nashville, TN where he spends his days encouraging others to seek Christ's grace in all things.

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