Last Wednesday, March 2nd was Ash Wednesday and the beginning of the Lenten period. Lent is the 40-day period leading up to Easter. Lent represents the time Jesus spent in the wilderness praying and fasting all while being repeatedly tempted by Satan.
The 40-day period is supposed to be a time of fasting or “giving up” something significant in order to bring about changes within ourselves. Hopefully the experience draws the believer closer to Jesus. The good ex-Catholic in me still observes the Lent period.
Recently while scrolling through Facebook, a headline caught my eye. The article was entitled: “Ten Easy Things to Give Up During Lent.” Even though I know not to judge a book by its cover, based on the article’s title, I didn’t bother to click on the link. The title alone told me everything I needed to know.
The headline immediately reminded of the above Scripture in 2 Samuel 24 about King David. My unfortunate, pre-disposition for judging things based on initial impressions brought out the inner cynic in me. I couldn’t help but think – if you are looking for something EASY to give up for Lent, then you’ve totally missed the entire concept of SACRIFICE.
Giving up something in remembrance of the blood Jesus shed for us isn’t supposed to be an easy thing!
When I was younger, my childish Lenten “sacrifices” reflected my immaturity consistent with my age. Giving up sugar, chocolate or Saturday morning cartoons seemed monumental to a young girl.
In years past, my Lent sacrifices included things like sugar, chocolate (why do these STILL control me?) or fasting from social media for 40 days. Some years I’ve had to fast from worry, which is the root cause of much of my anxiety. I’ve fasted from self-destructive attitudes that destroy me from the inside out. Fear, self-control, controlling others – there is no shortage of things that fight to own me. Ideally, I would love to permanently fast from ALL of these controlling attitudes or substances – but I am inanely human.
I recognize that there is NOTHING I could “give up” that would ever begin to compare to the sacrifice Jesus made by dying on the cross. King David understood the meaning of sacrifice when he insisted on paying for property needed to build an altar.
While many of us would adopt the “if it’s free – it’s for me” attitude, David flat-out refused the “free” offer. Free to him meant it was painless or easy for him.
The gift of salvation is free to accept – but to Jesus it was the ultimate sacrifice. Never forget that His sacrifice cost him everything. The price Jesus paid for your sins and mine … was anything but easy- because it wasn’t supposed to be easy!
Blessings in Christ,