For the past week, I have been trying to think of what to give up for lent this year. I want this year to be different. To me, the ultimate purpose of lent is sacrifice and growth. It’s to represent the time when Jesus was in the desert for 40 days and fasted the entire time, while being constantly in prayer with God. He was tempted by Satan several times, but never gave in. That is what we should strive for during lent. To be more Christ-like in our sacrifices and prayer life.
When you give up something you enjoy on a regular basis, such as soda or chocolate, it is impossible to do it alone. You have to rely on the Lord’s strength, not your own. And as dramatic as it may sound, it’s true. When I gave up meat last year for lent, I had to pray at almost every meal. I was constantly tempted to endulge in the one food I had commited not to. What made matters worse, nobody around me gave it up. It really was a struggle for me, but through prayer and strength from the Lord, I did it. He gave me every bit of encouragement I needed and it was great. I saw how much closer I grew to Him in that time period.
This year, I want to not only give something up, but also add something to my daily routine. I have officially given up carbonation. Just a side note: I’m not sharing that I’m fasting (and what I’m fasting from) to be boastful in any way. I know that when we fast, we are to keep it between the Lord and ourselves, but I’m sharing it more for accountablity than anything. I know that if my community of friends and family know what I’m giving up and adding for lent, they will be more helpful in my efforts.
As far as adding something, I have decided to wake up 20-30 minutes earlier than normal and spend that time in the Word. I want to get in the habit of this, because I know it will make a difference in my attitude throughout the day and also, I have been lazy in my quiet time with the Lord lately. My ultimate goal in doing this, is for it to continue on after lent. As the Lord teaches me things, I will update on that. I hope that this will encourage others to make it a point to spend more time reading the Bible throughout the day, because it really is God’s guide for our lives and without reading it and knowing it, how can we live as He’s called us to?
“Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster. – Joel 2:12-13
What an encouraging verse. At this time period, in the book of Joel, God is upset with his people. They are living in sin and disobedient. But he says, “yet even now”, meaning, even at our darkest hour, he is there. He is there, ready to show his mercy and grace. His love is unconditional and I am so thankful for that.
God is good.