I didn’t have this post planned for today, and so I’m writing it in the middle of the afternoon planning to hit “publish” as soon as I’m finished. I typically try to be a little more prepared with my writing, but this one just came to me this morning as I sat down and realized: Today starts Lent.
I grew up in a Baptist church and have attended nondenominational churches ever since, so “Lent” was not really ever recognized in my world – nor was Advent. It’s only been in the past several years that I have come to appreciate these special times of the year as we prepare for Jesus’s coming and for His death and resurrection. Which is why I write this post.
Of course, every day of the year we should be mindful of the Cross and Jesus’s passion for us that led Him to die on our behalf. But I also think it’s honorable to focus more intentionally during these 40 days leading up to Easter.
I have never fasted in my life. I know Jesus fasted. I know it’s a spiritual discipline that has great potential to grow my relationship with Jesus by leaps and bounds. I have friends who attest to the clear vision they’ve received and peace they’ve experienced during times of fasting. I’ve just never done it.
However, for the past several months God has laid on my heart over and over again that I needed to learn to fast. I’ve had some big decisions to make and some pressing concerns. I felt like if I fasted, and used that time praying instead of eating, then God would reveal Himself more to me.
On another note, I love, and I mean absolutely LOVE sweets! I eat a lot of sugar – too much sugar – and in times of stress I go to cookies and chocolate and brownies before going to God. I’ve been doing this a lot lately. He’s convicted me of this.
So I’ve decided that for the first time ever I’m going to actually fast sugar for these 40 days leading up to Easter. I’m scared to even put this in writing because then it means I have to do it. Even if I never talk to you or see you, I know that you know, so I can’t hide. I see this as a way for me to remember that Jesus suffered, even as trite and superficial as it sounds to even compare the two, and so I must suffer too.
“That I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.”
After my body gets out of shock from denying it what it’s now addicted to, I am prayerfully hoping my relationship with Jesus will grow exponentially. I expect that it will.
I don’t know what all this means for you. Observing Lent and deciding to fast is a work of the Holy Spirit. Otherwise it’s just a rule to follow that ultimately means nothing. So I just encourage you to remember Jesus these 40 days leading up to Easter. Remember that He suffered. Not only when He was being beaten to death, but He suffered on this earth in the exact same ways you are suffering. He knows every feeling, every pain, every heartache. He suffered for 40 days in the desert as Satan continued to push His buttons. He knows your temptations. Jesus wept physical tears. He feels your tears.
Here are also a few resources I found that you might find helpful. I don’t have and haven’t read the second book, but I just added it to my wish list. It looks good!
So where are you with Lent? Do you observe it every year?