We are now in Lent—the period of preparation leading up to Easter.
Some people “give something up” for Lent. Think of it like spiritual training. Just how an athlete might make certain sacrifices to train for a big event, so too is there a tradition of Christians making certain sacrifices at this time of year to prepare for the annual commemoration of the biggest event in history: the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.
Giving things up is connected to the practice of fasting, which is going without certain things for a certain period of time. When we limit our intake of things—like food, for example—we are more spiritually focused and disciplined, depending more on God.
The notion of training, discipline and focus brings to mind Paul’s words to Timothy: “train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come” (1 Timothy 4:7-8 ESV).
To be honest, I’m not in the habit of giving something up for Lent. [If you are, you might want to listen to the podcast about The Frenemy below.] But I am always on the lookout for ways to spiritually train ourselves.
In this sense, giving up certain things can be good—things which have somehow distracted us from godliness.
-Have you been watching a TV show that you wouldn’t watch if Jesus were sitting beside you?
-Is there a social media app which brings out the worst in you instead of the best?
-Has a bad habit wedged its way into your routine, angling you away from prayer or worship?
If so, now is always the right time to turn it around.
“train yourself for godliness… [it] is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”
—NEW PODCAST: “Giving up The Frenemy for Lent.” That’s my latest podcast. Why do people “give stuff up” for Lent, and who/what is The Frenemy? You can listen or read here. Or, tune in to The Pulse Podcast with Matthew Ruttan wherever you listen to podcasts.