Lent. The Easter season has begun. Many people see Easter as, well, just Easter Sunday. If we take an honest look at the Bible, we can see that Easter is not just a day, but it is a season. Furthermore, it is not just a season, but it is a year-round, life-long celebration and transformation. Unfortunately, like breathing oxygen, we can easily forget that every minute is full of this life-sustaining power celebrated in the Easter event. Ah, so, the solution is to hold your breath for as long as you can or, better yet, fill up the tub and settle in and sink down for as long as you can to recognize the blessing and necessity of air. No, seriously, you don’t have to do this… I am just using this as an illustration. Seriously, step away from the tub. OK, we know oxygen is essential and we affirm the absolute necessity of the celebrated risen Savior. This being not just on a holiday with colored eggs and ham, but every day of our lives. This is where Lent comes in…
Lent is the 40 days prior to Easter Week and always starts on Ash Wednesday. Christians have observed the Lenten season for centuries. This worship observance is primarily done through sacrificial fasting from food items or something else. Researcher George Barna found that the vast majority of people know of Lent. He also found that less than 2 out of 10 church attenders give up anything as an act of worship and remembrance of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (read Barna’s Lent article here). Partial or full fasting is not an act of “pleasing” God or trying to win approval, but an opportunity to worship and be reminded of the sacrificial death and triumphant resurrection of Jesus, our Lord. Going without specific things reminds us of our complete dependency upon Jesus Christ and what He has done for us. Fasting is like holding your breath or putting your head under water and recognizing, “Hey, I need air!” Fasting, in part, says, “Hey, I need Jesus and He is my sustenance!”
So, here is your challenge: Fast. Go without something. Not as an attempt at earning favor from God, but as an act of worship and devotion. Lent is a time of Spiritual formation that carries on year-round. What are you willing to give up?