Over the past month or so I’ve been thinking about what I’m going to deny myself during Lent. In the past, I’ve given up chocolate, pizza, pop (soda), or other things I’ve enjoyed. This year it has been a difficult decision. I haven’t been eating that much chocolate. I stopped drinking soda (pop) over the summer. I’ve slowed down on the pizza intake. So, what should I give up?
Well, there really was only one thing left and it is going to be difficult to give up. I’ve posted before about my love of McDonald’s Sweet Tea. It is the nectar of heaven and I’ve realized after much thought that it is the only thing that would be a real sacrifice (as far as food and beverages go).
There is only one problem with this choice. There is an upside for me. The upside is that I could stand to lose a little weight and I know that going Sweet Tea-less would help me lose some pounds. So while I’m denying myself of Sweet Tea, I’m also getting an appearance benefit.
I guess there’s nothing wrong with that, but I will need to be careful. The point of Lent is not to lose a few pounds, or give up something I like. The point of Lent is to draw closer to God. Lent is a time of more focused prayer and denial. There is the potential that even though I give up certain things, I will neglect the more important practices of prayer, reflecting on scripture, and other practices that draw me closer to God.
No matter what we give up, the point is that when Lent is over, we are closer, more obedient, and more receptive to God than what we were when Lent began. That closeness should result in loving God and loving others to a greater degree. The point of Lent isn’t what we sacrifice, but whether we grow in Love.