What are you giving up for Lent? This is often the question asked this time of the year. If you have been in church recently, you know I have given up shaving for Lent! Oh, I know it is something that you enjoy that you are suppose to give up. What is sacrifical about shaving? You are not suppose to give up something you hate. And I do hate shaving. I know I am being funny here, but I think the question is still a good one - "what are you giving up?" I do not think it is a silly question. It is an interesting counter cultural question to ask in a culture that has as its primary moto: "go ahead, do it, you deserve it." In a culture that has an omnivorous appetite, isn't it strange to read a story about Jesus denying himself a bite to eat. What's wrong with thinking about yourself, Jesus, you deserve it, after all you are the Son of God. It is as if Jesus knows that if he caves into a little thing like a snack, it lets in the possibility of greater threats to forget God. There was a recent study on will power. And the researchers discovered that if you exercise your will power over little things, it strenthens your resistance to forgo greater temptations. Evidently will power, like muscles, needs exercises to keep it strong. So maybe the little question of Lent, has huge implications. Maybe the Lenten discipline of denying yourself something that the culture says "yes" to too quickly, just might enable you to say "no" to greater things, maybe it helps you to say "NO" to your all consuming ego that always thinks about itself first.
All the best through Christ,