My teenage son decided a few years ago to give up pizza for Lent. My first thought was ugh, not pizza!
I was also amazed and proud that he would give up
something he loved so much. So I
suffered sacrificed with the rest of
the family through forty days with no pizza. The experience is amusing now. At
the time, I grudgingly embraced it as a learning experience for my son.
Yet, in our quest as Christians to observe spiritual holy days and seasons, do we miss the mark with our sacrifices for Christ—as if we can really give up anything for Him? Lent is supposed to be about reflection and self-denial to commemorate Christ’s sacrifice as we approach Easter. The intention is to spend more time in Scripture and prayer with God in place of the item we have sacrificed.
But what if we were to embrace the idea that Lent is a lifestyle for Christians instead of a season? Not self-denial in the pre-Protestant manner. We all need downtime and recreation. Rather, give up the things that mindlessly occupy our time or are harmful to our spirits—and replace them with Christ-honoring activities so that we may become more Christ-like.
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24
We put off our old self when we became Christians. To be made new in our attitudes and put on a new self, created to be like God, takes conscious effort. Lent offers a new beginning in this regard, a chance to reflect on old ways and create new spiritual habits.
… the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. Romans 8:6
The peace we yearn for, the new beginning—like spring after a long, cold winter—comes when we allow ourselves to be governed by the Spirit of God. As Lent ends and we approach Easter, fellowship with the Spirit of peace in a way you never have before. Then challenge yourself to embrace the idea of Lent as a lifestyle—a constant renewing in the midst of life’s challenges. The reassurance of God’s peace and our spiritual growth is worth any sacrifice we’ll make.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.