As someone who for the longest time thought that lent referred only to the fluffy residue in the dryer filter (never mind they are spelled differently!), I am a classic example of a slow starter to observe the season. Let’s just fast forward to Easter! Why go through the slog of preparing? Maybe you have thought the same.
Then I began to see the times of preparation throughout Scripture. Moses was 80 before leading the people out of Egypt. And I thought 40 days was a long time! David was anointed King of Israel and then served under Saul for years. Jesus…yes, Jesus…spent 40 days in the desert fasting and being tested in preparation to begin public ministry. If these folks needed times of preparation, how much more do I!
Two quick things as you decide what you’ll give up or take on for the season of Lent.
- Pick something that will constantly remind you of your relationship with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Don’t give up chocolate if its just gonna make you hangry or because your waistline needs adjusting. Give up chocolate if abstaining will cause you to be reminded of God’s goodness; Jesus’ faithfulness, and the Holy Spirit’s power. Fasting is about giving something up so you can take something on.
- Don’t tell the world. Studies have shown that often just speaking what we are going to do replaces the need for doing it. Plus, Jesus warns to not practice piety before others to be thought of as better or rewarded in some way. I can’t tell you how many times I told people I was going to run a marathon before I actually did it. The awe of others satisfied my craving instead of the reality of doing it. Oh, you can tell you’re close people…those who will not be in awe of you but will hold you accountable. You will actually need them because 40 days is a really long time! But for everyone else…just quietly go about growing your faith with your Lord.
If Jesus spent time preparing, so should we. I love that Lent rolls around each year to give us that opportunity to put our faith in the One who can and will meet us where we are and refuses to leave us there.
Happy Fat Tuesday, y’all!