It’s that time of year again. Some people have given up candy, some chocolate, and some have even dared to stay off Facebook for the 40 days of Lent, those brave souls. Lent lasts from Ash Wednesday until Holy Thursday, but most people end on Easter Sunday. Lent is supposed to be about mentally and spiritually preparing ourselves for the Easter holiday, for a time of remembrance. In the books of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, you can find the story of how Jesus spent 40 days in the desert, fasting and praying, before his ministry began. Not only did his ministry begin, but he also began calling his disciples.
Lent isn’t a joke. It’s not an excuse to give up sugar for a few weeks. It’s not a way to test yourself. It’s a way to trust in God throughout a trying time. For Lent, the purpose is to give up a luxury or something that’s taking your thoughts away from Christ. As you are tempted to pick up the habit or food again during this time, you turn to God and His Word to keep you on track.
All over Facebook, I keep seeing people post about what they’re giving up for Lent. But so far, I haven’t seen anyone post about how God is helping them through their struggle with temptation. However, we’ve already begun posting about how well we’re doing. Lent has turned into a selfish holiday. We’re testing ourselves. We’re relying on ourselves to be strong and to not reach for another candy bar or pull into a fast food place.
What did I give up for Lent? Soda.
I was thinking about what God was calling me to live without and I realized it was simple. As Christians, our bodies are temples where the Holy Spirit resides. Are we taking care of our temples? Are we keeping them as pure and holy as we possibly can because the Holy Spirit deserves that and more? Lately, I’ve been reading a book titled, “Skinny B***h”. Yes, I know it has an awful name. And there’s some interesting language throughout it. It’s not my proudest purchase ever, but it’s fascinating. Fascinating in an educational sense…let me explain: It goes through all these things that we eat, drink, etc. that are harmful to our bodies. It discusses how not only should we be careful about the foods we put in our body, but also the products we choose to put on our bodies, such as makeup, body wash, etc.
Giving up something like soda for Lent (notice I’m using “soda” rather than “coke”…I didn’t want there to be any confusion) is something I’m doing to try and rid the temple of toxins and chemicals. When I have a caffeine headache or reach for a soda out of habit, I remind myself of how drinking it would be similar to graffiti-ing a church. You can be sure that makes me second guess my decision real quick. This isn’t the first time I’ve written about how our bodies are temples, I’ve also mentioned it here.
2 Corinthians 9:7-8 says, “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.”
Whatever you have decided to give up for Lent, make sure it’s what God wants you to give up. Don’t give something up for 40 days for you. Do it so that you can draw closer to Him. If you haven’t given anything up for Lent, I challenge you to pray about it and if God’s leading you, to jump in. Better late than never.
As you fast, feast on the glory of God; bask in His presence and comfort.
Listening to: “Oceans Will Part” by Hillsong