Lent is less than a week away! Have you made your Lenten resolutions yet?
A while ago I bought into what I am now deeming not-so-good advice about Lent. I can’t remember where it came from, all I know is that I somehow got into my head the idea that it was best to make one or two resolutions that you know you can really stick to as opposed to a bunch of life-altering changes that might result in miserable failure on day three.
Well, forget that.
This is a blog for young adults, and we’re not particularly well known for being overly cautious. Why should that change when it comes to one of the few cases in which caution is actually NOT desirable—in growing in relationship with Jesus?
We’ve got six days, people. Let’s ask Jesus what things in our lives are keeping us from loving Him as we ought to and—whether it’s a list of three or three hundred things—cut. them. out.
Is sleeping-in keeping you from prayer? Set seven alarms and sleep on the floor for Lent (it’s much harder to sleep in when what you’re sleeping on is uncomfortable). Wasting time on Facebook? Block it. Deactivate. Whatever it takes. Also, fast. Fast a lot.
A lot of people ask how giving up something like chocolate or soda can help your relationship with Jesus. It’s simple, really. We are supposed to love Jesus above all else; and as Christians, we want to love Jesus above all else. So we practice. We practice by refusing ourselves some lesser good—not because enjoying that lesser good is wrong, but because by refusing that lesser good, we are showing and increasing our love for He that is the greatest good. If we don’t practice saying no to ourselves and to lesser goods, then our prayer becomes empty. I can’t truly say that I love God more than anything if I’m unable to do something as simple as giving up dessert as an act of love for Him.
There’s a catch, though. The thing about the advice I took a few years back was that it was safe. If you’re just giving up chocolate for Lent, it’s not so difficult to just get into the habit of not having chocolate. It’s a simple recipe for a “successful” Lent.
The non-cautious route to Lent isn’t safe. And you may not be “successful” in the same way as you used to be on the safe route. But Lent is all about renewing your total reliance on God, and sometimes we learn that best after falling a few times trying to do it on our own. The sooner you learn that you will fail when you try to do it alone, the better. The battle was never yours to begin with.