Joel 2:15 (NLT) Blow the ram’s horn! Announce a time of fasting.
If this post is about repentance, humility and self-sacrifice, will you continue reading?
If you answered yes….
The season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and lasts for 40 days – until Christ is crucified on Good Friday. It is a self-reflective season of repentance and humility, preparing our hearts for Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf. I like to use it as a time to intentionally grow closer to God.
I first participated in the practice of Lenten fasting 4 years ago. I didn’t understand the hows and whys of spiritual fasting (and still don’t), but found that it deepened my relationship with God. It focused my attention on Him. To fast is to give something up. Selecting something personally meaningful is key: Chocolate? Caffeine? Facebook? TV?
Some say they lean on God for strength when tempted by the taboo item, so eliminating a true crutch for Lent, both repents of your dependence on an idol and increases your dependence on God. Others explain that each temptation helps them think about God more often. I’ve been told this small sacrifice reminds you of Jesus’ sacrifice, which seems wrong since refraining from chocolate isn’t in the same universe as a torturous death. A Catholic friend recently told me the sacrifice is our penance for the sins we’re repenting.
A more modern version adds an act of self-sacrifice during Lent – like reading Scripture or praying (if these aren’t already daily habits) or increased acts of service. These are appealing and could definitely bring you close to God.
How do you observe Lent? Do you fast? Add a spiritual practice? If so, why? Please share!
An excellent resource for understanding Lent is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3L3c23MfC0.
Also Lucinda Secrest McDowell has blogged about Lent and the practice of fasting in https://lucindamcdowell.wordpress.com/2015/02/11/its-not-just-about-giving-up-chocolate/
Like a productive garden, a rich relationship should be tended regularly. To be reminded to plant His Word in your heart, follow me on Twitter @Cathy_Chung or subscribe at Seeds of Scripture.