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
Denise Hulcher says
I’m one of the ones who is happy I saw this today, because I had it on my calendar! Yes, I was one of those who “gave up something” for Lent as I came from a Catholic background. You’ll notice that I said “was” one of those. The thing I want to share is this: I agree with your sentiment whole heartedly! Jesus looks at our heart and our motives, and that is why he was always harsh with the Pharisees. Their heart was far away from their Lord. For them it was more about looking good in the eyes of men. Having said all that, when I mentioned to my 16 yr. old this morning that today was the first day of Lent, his response was “what’s that?!” I was kind of shocked by his words as he has been attending a Christian school for about 5 years and I’m sure they have discussed Lent. So I gave him the short answer but we will be having more discussions about this topic in the days and weeks to come. I’ve decided this year during Lent to do the 40-day Gospel Bible Reading Challenge. I am on day 18 and guess what? The Gospels are still Amazing! The life of Jesus is so inspiring and filled with hope and laughter! Yes, He makes me laugh how He handles certain things and He is still the best story teller there ever was! I love Him so! Let’s think differently about Lent and spend more time with One Who Did it all for us!