Ash Wednesday is just a couple of days away, and so the question for some of us is “What to give up for Lent?” I remember growing up, and I heard my friends in the youth group saying, “I am giving up pop or Chocolate for Lent.” And while I admired their sacrifice, I often wondered what the point of giving up those particular things was. Because after Lent was over, it never seemed to make any difference in their lives. They went back to drinking pop and eating chocolate, and the only value they ever seemed to receive was some practice of self-denial and some pride because they accomplished something.
So, why do we give up something for Lent? So, we can practice the principle of fasting. Fasting is about abstaining from something for a certain amount of time. This practice of self-denial forms us and teaches us and forms us as Christian disciples, and it reminds us of Jesus’ command in Luke 9:23, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” Denying ourselves is essential to following Jesus. And thus the point of any fast is Christ-following. Let me say that again, the reason we fast from anything is so that we can be more Christ-like. Continue reading