[wolf_dropcap text=”T” font=”Montserrat”] he Lenten season has begun and believers all over the world have become more circumspect regarding the meaning of suffering and sacrifice in light of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Over the course of these forty days, Christians are reflecting upon the serious call to self-denial for the purposes of growing closer with God and advancing His Kingdom. During the last decade, it has become traditional and even popular to adopt a particular fast and other pledges during Lent. Some have collaborated in groups to commit to certain diets and abstaining from negative habits or degenerative behaviors in the name of sacrifice leading up until Resurrection Sunday. Whether one elects to abstain from sweets, particular foods or vices such as smoking or drinking, there are at least two things that disciples should keep in mind during this journey. Hallelujah and Amen!
Firstly, it is important to remember that the Lenten season should be treated as a discreet, personal spiritual journey between the individual and God. The covenant between creation and Creator loses the intimacy and reverence required to walk with God when the details are broadcasted in a cavalier manner. Even though Christians should always thirst for a closer walk with God, this season of reflection and redemption should heighten both the sensitivity and desire to be one with God. A soul cannot be one with God if your mind and soul are tied to others. This race is neither a sprint nor a relay; it is an inescapable marathon and God, Himself, is the prize. Do not fall into the trap of tag-team fasting or Lent-competition. This journey is about you and the Lord! Hallelujah and Amen!
Lastly, let us not be consumed merely with the thought of “giving up” something during Lent. While many nobly deprive themselves of desires, what can one truly sacrifice that imitates or celebrates the one who gave up his life for the world? Rather, might it be suggested that believers ought to take up spiritual disciplines in addition to giving up vices? It would be both prudent and powerful to give up lying and take up encouragement; to give up gossip and take up edification; to give up complaining and take up positivity; to give up giving up and taking up patience. Certainly, this list is infinite and can be tailored to the individual. However, one must take the first step of acknowledging that whatever is given up cannot replace the sacrifice of Christ and that which is taken up could never outweigh the heaviness of the cross. Let’s give up and take up! Rejoice and be glad!