Today marks the beginning of the Lenten season. It is the time when people decide to give something up that has been consuming them in order to draw closer to God. Some choose to give up something as simple as soda and others are going to drastic measures such as silence for 40 days. It can be an awesome experience if done with the right intentions. Sacrifice was exemplified by Christ, and His followers need to see this as a time to participate in a discipline that Jesus practiced from the beginning of His ministry (Matthew 4:2).
Now, I for one do not always use the Lenten time to give something up, but I see the value in it for some. As I said earlier, when done with the right intention, this practice is a good one. Unfortunately, some people use this time as a pious act or even a way to feel like they are earning something with Jesus. Either case is wrong. Giving something up is a practice that should occur regularly for those that claim to follow Christ. Jesus told His followers in order to be a true follower one must deny their own self (Matt. 16:24-25). We need to give up our own desires regularly so God can truly do His good work in and through us.
Every day is a renewal. This season moves us to the renewal and reconciliation that came at the cross and resurrection. Jesus’ sacrifice gave us freedom from the need to sacrifice anything for redemption, but the practice of sacrifice draws us closer to understanding what Christ went through to set us free. Let us take this time to remember what was truly given up for us, knowing that we can never give up enough to earn salvation. If you are giving something up for 40 days, awesome, and may God bless the time you have drawing closer to Him. If you are not giving something up, awesome, but hopefully you embrace the idea of giving up regularly in order to follow Jesus.