Living as Children of LightDaily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
You were taught to put away your former way of life, your old self, corrupt and deluded by its lusts, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to clothe yourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
Each year, I give up something for Lent. When I was a young girl, mom and I would give up chocolate, and every year, at midnight, the moment it became Easter, my mom and I would have a stash ready to devour. No matter how fun it was, I have learned that on some level, we were missing the point.
Lent is a season of preparation. The discipline of giving something up for Lent was intended for sacrifice, yes, but also to make more room for God in our lives. Therefore, it is a good practice to not just give something up, but replace it with something of the Lord.
For example, Paul warns against certain behaviors and follows each warning with an instruction on how we ought to act. He writes, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths,” and then he instructs, “but only such as is good for building others up” (Eph. 4:29).
I fear however, that this could easily be turned into a list of do’s and don’ts, which is why it is important to remember what Paul said in the beginning of this passage. He began with the reminder “to put on your new self” in Christ. This is not about ridding ourselves of bad habits and sinful behaviors, although that will in fact happen. Paul is teaching about becoming a new creation, and he is painting a picture of how we, as a new creation, should look.
Later, in Ephesians 5, Paul says, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children” (v.1). To imitate someone means to be like them. Lent is a great opportunity to set some extra time aside to let God work in me; to let him make me more like him. This is why I still give up something every year for Lent. These days, it’s not usually chocolate, and I don’t dive right in once Easter arrives. I use Lent as a time to prepare and to make space for Jesus.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: What has been your experience with giving up something for Lent? Is it a new idea? Is it something you’ve always done? If it’s something you’ve always done, make a list of the things you’ve given up over the years. How do these items tell your personal story of faith? If giving up something for Lent is a new idea for you, what do you think of the idea?
PRAYER: God, I want to be more like you. Show me how to make room for you. Thank you for this
season of preparation and for your sacrifice. I pray I don’t miss the point. Amen.