So, the big news this week is… that the Prime Minister has given up crisps for Lent! As a typical non-conformist Christian, I have often wondered what all the fuss is about Lent… why give up chocolate, social media or crisps for a few weeks, only to return to them afterwards? Actually, if I’m honest, I’ve never even given it that much thought.
Over recent months we have spent time reflecting on the changes that God wants to make in us and on the spiritual disciplines that help us to focus on our call to love God, to love people and to keep going in the Christian walk. Interestingly, fasting (going without something for a season) was not one of the disciplines that we considered.
The Lent season is based on the 40 days that Jesus spent in the desert after his baptism and before his ministry began. As he went without his usual daily comforts and was tempted by the devil, his knowledge, resolve and spiritual stamina were tested. His knowledge of God’s word gave him an answer to each temptation. His resolve to fulfil God’s call on his life gave him the determination to enter into a life of selfless love. And his spiritual stamina was absolutely essential in seeing his call through to the end, as he eventually took our place on the cross in order to reconcile us to God.
Whether you are observing this season of Lent or not, it is always worth considering what we might need to give up – either for a time or permanently – in order to focus on God. We all need to develop and test our Bible knowledge, our resolve to follow God’s call, and the spiritual stamina needed to sustain a lifelong faith in Jesus. It’s an essential part of the changes that God longs to make in every person. But the best thing is that in the end, it’s not about giving up… by following the example of Jesus, it’s about gaining far more than we could ever have imagined as we grow in faith and in our relationship with God.
With my love and prayers