Where the season of Lent begins is in Matthew Chapter 4 where Jesus was led into the desert to be tempted by Satan for 40 days. Jesus was there without food and repeatedly facing temptations to have the comforts he had been use to. Jesus was obviously being prepared for something that would have an impact on eternity.
What is it that tempts you? What is it that God may have given you as a gift and yet it now holds you captive. It holds you captive because you have come to depend on it, you have come to find your comfort in it, you have come to be dependent upon it and you didn’t even realize it. Maybe you don’t believe there is anything you can’t do without. I would challenge you to a test of your own.
During these forty days leading up to Easter, not including Sunday’s, what are you possibly addicted to, good things mind you, that you are putting before God and your service to Him that you would be willing to give up for 40 days.
Here are some things others have chosen to give up as examples.
No food for 40 days. (If this is your first time, I don’t recommend trying this until you become accustomed to shorter times of fasting)
No solid food for 40 days. (This is quite healthy if you choose to take juice, broth, only liquids as a cleansing process. However if you overdo the juices, ect… you will defeat the purpose. It is designed as a sacrifice.)
No Red Meat for 40 Days (I plan to do this for the 40 days)
No Sweets for the 40 days (I plan to follow this as well)
Daniel Fast for the 40 days (Only fruits and vegetables, no bread, no sodas, only water with the food, some say no dairy, this is up to you)
No Sodas for 40 Days (I plan to follow this)
No Social Media for 40 Days
No Television for 40 Days
No ipod for 40 Days
No Radio for 40 Days
Whatever it is that tempts you to be drawn away from time spent with God, you should consider giving it up. These things are designed to draw us closer to God and to remind us of our dependence on Him. By the way, anything we give up for Christ, we will be better for doing so.
A few things to remember. When you make this commitment, don’t make it lightly. If you tell God you are giving something up for Him, stick with it. You won’t be killed if you don’t but let your yes be yes and your no be no. Be a woman or man of your word and stick to it. After all, what does it say about us if we make a commitment to give up music for 40 days and we cane in after 2 days? It says that we are addicted and that we are being controlled by a gift from God rather than by God Himself.
Keep in mind, some people use the Sunday’s as celebration days and do not observe the fast on these days. It is up to you and may give you something to look forward to and therefore encouragement to keep your commitment.
Here is the account of what Jesus gave up. He gave up food for 40 days, surely we can part with some things of much less significance that could draw us closer to the One who gave up His life for us.
1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. 2 For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry. 3 During that time the devil came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4 But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” 5 Then the devil took him to the holy city, Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, 6 and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say,‘He will order his angels to protect you. And they will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.” 7 Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the LORD your God.” 8 Next the devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 “I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me.” 10 “Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the LORD your God and serve only him.” 11 Then the devil went away, and angels came and took care of Jesus.
From then on Jesus began to preach, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.