“Jesus was led out into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit to be tempted there by the Devil. For forty days and forty nights he ate nothing and became very hungry…” – Matthew 4: 1-2
“The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer through prayer, penance, repentance of sins, almsgiving, atonement and self-denial.”
Many persons try to achieve a goal for the 40 days and 40 nights of Lent, but what meaning does this season really hold?
I believe it is a season of preparation and testing; Jesus was taken into the wilderness to be tempted. It is also a season of faith, because though his body was weak, his faith did not falter and he did not fall into temptation. He refused the Devil and was then taken care of by angels.
“During Lent, many of the faithful commit to fasting or giving up certain types of luxuries as a form of penitence.”
For as long as I have been able to comprehend what happens around me, people have been ‘giving up’ things for this season; things like Twitter, Facebook, Soda, Sex, Lying, Cursing and so many other things that we may deem ‘spiritual poisons’. Whether it be bad habits or things they feel dependent on; we have been making the sacrifice to not partake in these things for this season.
I think this is great, because where it takes a few days to form a habit, it takes over a month to break it. It also helps us to move away from the silly things that hinder us from seeing truth and showing gratitude and praise. It helps us to strengthen our faith and beliefs.
“The three traditional practices to be taken up with renewed vigour during Lent are prayer (justice towards God), fasting (justice towards self), and almsgiving (justice towards neighbour).
However, in modern times, observers give up an action of theirs considered to be a vice, add something that is considered to be able to bring them closer to God, and often give the time or money spent doing that to charitable purposes or organizations.”
This cultural/religious practice is also good as it helps us to also form new habits, while trying to break the old ones. So though you have given up sex, you can also decide to pray more, do community service or go to church. Do something that enables spiritual growth and enlightenment. We should be able to deny our earthly needs and connect to God and His people. Do something outside of ourselves.
“Give up the spiritual poisons and partake in the consumption of spiritual nutrients.” – Daniella Marie
Emotional health and physical health are great, but it is the spirit that counts the most. We have to use this season to tap into the source which is God. To do great things in His name and grow in His faith. So yes, it is good to be able to give up something, but what is that more than discipline. Lent requires more of us than that, it requires that we connect with God, have faith in His goodness and show this to others.
Don’t be discouraged and believe that if you slip it is over… Jesus was sent to forgive us of our sins and slip-ups, not to condemn us. Though we may be tested, we can stand tall and draw on the eternal strength of God.
So reply and let me know your thoughts and what you have decided to give up for this Lent.