What are you giving up for Lent? This is a question that is being asked by many practicing Christians this time of year. I hadn’t given the question much thought until recently when it dawn on me just how trivial many have made the season of Lent. I mean, think about it! First of all Jesus said that when we fast we are not to make it public knowledge. In other words, the fast should be a private thing between the believer and God. Now, I know that there is some historical and biblical precedent for public fasting, but I think most modern Christians, particularly those in the West, really don’t understand the biblical concept of fasting. In the Bible, people fasted, not so much to give up something, rather to make themselves more available to God and for his service. However, many Western Christians are using this season to fast by giving up sodas, sweets, and other non-essential things in a vain attempt to identify in some small minute way with the sufferings of Christ. But can the suffering that Christ endured really be compared to the slight inconvenience of sodas or chocolate for forty days? We observe the season of Lent in such a trivial sacrifices, but I wonder are such small inconveniences really indicative of the real spirit of the season?
Jesus gave up his life, and we think we are really doing something special when we give up sodas for forty days? The call of Jesus involves more than just a ceremonial, trivial, token 40-day fast during the season of Lent. The Lord calls us to live a life of sacrifice! The dedication and perseverance that many display during Lent was not intended to be seasonal; it was intended to be a life-style!
Now, I am not advocating that there should be no fasting or sacrifices during Lent, all I’m saying is that I think we should be more serious about what the season really means. I think the spirit of the season would be better served, not just by giving up sodas for forty days, but rather by understanding Jesus calls us, not just to a season of sacrifice, but rather to a life-time of sacrifice and dedication!