Not that any one of you asked, but I thought I’d share my thoughts on this one just the same. Did you all know that Lent begins today? Some of you might be grateful right now that you saw this post because you had forgotten, and you’re slowing putting down that cup of coffee that you vowed to give up for the next forty days “for God.” Others of you have had this marked on your calendar like clockwork each and every year, and you came prepared. Some of you couldn’t care less about Lent because you’re not Catholic. Whatever camp you find yourself in, go with me for just a moment because I believe there is great value in the principle I want to share with you all today.
Confession: I have never observed Lent in my life. That’s right. Not once. Before you pick up your stones and start aiming them in my direction, allow me to explain my position. I am a firm believer in the God of the Bible. I am a committed follower of Jesus Christ. I adore God’s Word, and it is the ultimate authority on all matters in my life. I believe in fasting and prayer. I believe in discipline.
I also believe that this God is after all of us, not just a part.
This is where I come head to head with Lent. From a distance, I can appreciate the discipline of giving something up for a designated period of time. I’m currently in the middle of Whole 30 – 30 days without sugar, dairy, or grains. I get sacrifice because right now, I’m on day 9, and all I want is to eat the entire pastry case at my local coffee shop. I understand the importance of restraint. But when it comes to doing anything in God’s name, our motivation matters.
Are you choosing to give up coffee because your lack of it for forty days will create a hunger in you that will force you to turn to God? Or are you giving up coffee because your Starbucks’ drink has added a few unwanted pounds around your mid-section and depleted your bank account more than you’d like? Do you see the difference motive makes?
The reality in any kind of fast is that God is after our hearts, our affections. He wants us to hunger and thirst for Him more than anything else. I believe that if God were to speak into this conversation, He would invite each one of us to give up our lives. He would invite us to surrender, to give our whole heart to Him for His purposes. He’s not interested in our coffee, chocolate, red meat, or beer. He is interested in us. He wants us wholly devoted to Him, not just partly. He wants 365 days of the year, not just 40.
I want to invite you to think outside of the box with me today. What are you giving up for God today? And are you going to take it back in forty days? Try something new this year. Give up your life for Christ. He gave His up for you.
“Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Matthew 10:39