Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Lent - Past & Present

 As a child, I remember that each year I gave up something for Lent. It was normally something like sweets or crisps, you get the idea.
    I can honestly say that I didn't really understand what it was all about. Everyone else at church gave stuff up and my friends at church would ask me what I was giving up and we all gave up the same old stuff every year.
    Our understanding was that as Jesus gave up eating food for 40 days and nights, we had to give up something too to commemorate it. It did mean that when Easter came, eating chocolate eggs was all the more special if you hadn't had any chocolate through Lent!

There are two main problems with the way I did Lent as a child:
1. I didn't understand what and why I was doing what I was doing.
2. The concept of 'Giving Up' something, can be a negative experience and it wasn't intended to be.

Lent is such a positive time, leading up to Easter, and it's vital that we understand what and why we are doing things.
When Jesus fasted from food he became hungry, yes, but he also became stronger by the experience of fasting and prayer for the 40 days and nights. This meant that when Satan arrived to tempt Jesus, he was ready for him. Remember that Jesus although fully God was also fully man and able to be tempted.

When we come to think about our Lent experience, we should look to do something challenging that will leave us stronger at the end.
  Some examine their lives and look for something that they need to change for the good, that will probably be hard to do. At the end they will be better for it and often those around them will be too.
  Maybe you are addicted to something like cigarettes, Lent is an ideal time to deal with this kind of thing. Don't think of it as giving up nicotine for Lent, that's negative. What you are doing is being SET FREE from the addiction.
  There are lots of things that people get addicted to and being set free from them will certainly leave you stronger and will make your Lent experience a positive one.

Don't try to do it alone, confide in someone you trust for accountability and of course pray constantly for help in your endeavours.

May you always know His peace and blessings.