Did you give anything up for Lent? I realize that isn’t necessarily a Protestant practice although it has become more prevalent in recent years.
I woke up yesterday and was like, “Oh no….what am I going to give up?” I obviously hadn’t put a whole lot of thought into it and to be perfectly honest, in recent years, I wasn’t even so sure of what I thought of it. Didn’t Jesus go to the cross and pay for all of my sins so what was it exactly I was giving anything up for? But as I’ve read and read and read my mind shifted a bit. My heart too, I suppose. And I thought if Christ, in the form of a man could go to a cross and hang on there in excruciating pain as a payment for my foolishness, I could give up cupcakes for 40 days as a form of self-denial!
Matthew 6 tells us, “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do…..”. He doesn’t say, “If we fast”…he says, “When”. How often do I do this in any area of my life?
So yesterday, I thought okay, Diet Coke. I have started my Diet Coke addiction back up. I drink it any chance I can get it and my water intake had dropped. I don’t know how it happened. I’m going to blame my friends in Florida during Thanksgiving. They always have a refrigerator full of Diet Coke so as we spent time there, I indulged a few times. Since then, it’s been on. So, sure, Diet Coke it is!
Decided this around 8am yesterday morning. By 11:45am, I am at our Madison Cafe and lo and behold, there I am drinking a Diet Coke. About half empty, I look at it and thought, “Really?!?”. It wasn’t even in the forefront of my brain. Not even close to my head even. Nowhere in the building. Pretty sure I left it at the kitchen table when I made that quick, impulsive decision!
And after some Lent study and reading last night about fasting, I realized that the reason I didn’t have it on the forefront of my mind was because I wasn’t replacing it with Him! I didn’t bring Jesus into the equation. I was just going about thinking I was going to “give it up”. Fail!
Sacrifice is good. It’s important. And again, as Matthew 6 tells us…”When” we fast…not “if”….so this is something we are asked to do from time to time. But when we do…when, *I* do, my foundation needs to be rooted in Christ. Rooted in deepening my love for Him and my relationship with Him. Not for a sense of pride or accomplishment. Yesterday was a fail.
Today…..it’s only 8:34am but so far, no Diet Coke.
Photo Cred: The Oops Store