Lent and fasting

Posted: March 3, 2012 in Holidays, Me and God, The Bible, The Church

This morning I read a blog about Lent, and more specific “Digital Fast”. If you are as unfamiliar with lent as I am, Lent is a tradition (not commanded in the Bible) practiced by many Christians around the world (Catholic, Episcopal, Methodists etc) that observes, as part of the liturgical year, a series of acts between Ash Wednesday and Holy Thursday (right before Easter). The purpose of Lent is “the penitential preparation of the believer—through prayer, penance, repentance, alms giving, and self-denial. Its institutional purpose is heightened in the annual commemoration of Holy Week”.

From my non-lent-practicing 21st century Western culture view, I have noticed that many people associate lent, and practice it with fasting, more specifically ‘giving up something’.

Some things that I’ve read and heard of people fasting or giving up are: Foods (candy, chocolate, chips, fries), internet –specially Facebook; alcohol, sodas (Coke, Dr Pepper etc), TV, smoking, dating, relationships, coffee, Xbox, video games etc.

I was thinking. I understand fasting (click here for a detailed Biblical explanation) is a discipline and mandate for a Christian anytime of the year. However, since I don’t observe lent, what if I gave it a try? What could I give up that really ‘cost me’ and had a direct correlation and impact in a meaningful way, in my spiritual walk? What are things that are not necessarily bad in all contexts, that I could give up? What things should I not be doing anytime anyway?

Many things came to mind, here are the top 5 things I could ‘give up’ for lent:

–       Give up driving above the speeding limit

–       Give up making any criticism to anyone or about anything.

–       Give up complaining, putting down anything or anybody.

–       Give up watching/reading news and instead use that time for devotional purposes.

–       Give up coffee.

Quickly I have come to the conclusion that, more than considering whether or not I lent, I need a serious check up and assessment in my own life, of my actions and my motives.

  1. Darrell Pruitt says:

    Great thoughts. Coincidentally I’m observing Lent for the first time in my life, just doing it as an individual. I’ve found a great sight to sort of lead me in this new experience; brightsadness.org. What am I giving up? My Georgia Tech message boards, all sports-related internet and apps… and, peanut butter. 🙂 Seriously today was the first day and it was awesome…

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