God doesn’t care about your Snickers! There, I said it, someone had to. Our Lord and Savior is also not concerned with your lack of television, soda, or any other arbitrary item you conjure up as a “sacrifice”. As we approach this week you are most likely going to see people discussing what they are “giving up” for Lent. A misguided practice to say the least and complete lack of understanding in all things spiritual to be completely honest. What is Lent? Lent is the 40-day period (not counting Sundays) from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday. The word lent comes from the word lencten, meaning spring. The practice of observing lent goes back to the earliest days of the Catholic Church if not further into history consistently showing some sort of lencten preparation for Easter Sundays. The number of days, the exact times and parameters of fasting have changed drastically over time, but rest assured it was fasting, and fasting with reason. The 40 day period varied in region and in era, but in general, a person was to fast six days a week, eating only one meal a day in the evening. That meal should only be of grain or vegetable and one should abstain from all things flesh and animal. This was done for 40 days in the observance of the biblical reference to the fasting period described for Moses, Elijah, and most importantly Jesus. Despite any of the formalities of Lent, one aspect was at the heart of this practice… penitence.
Today, Lent seems to be more of a New Year’s Resolution Part Deux. You will most commonly see people giving up things that are already an unhealthy indulgence and it just brings me to wonder how it would sound if someone posted, “I’m giving up blow for Lent! Wish me luck!” Giving up things that shouldn’t be in your life or at least very sparingly, isn’t a “sacrifice” and it definitely isn’t fasting. I’ve already seen chocolate, television, movies, social media, and more being mentioned this year as things being given up. Even more, I see people discussing what they are going to do in place of these things. Removing some random aspect of your life, only to then fill it with another random thing of the world is not the basis of repentance. Without going on a religious tirade, I’m going to give you this to think about. Why am I practicing lent? If the first answer isn’t to repent and grow closer to God, you should reconsider your thought process. Then, ask yourself this, “If I’m not going to fast, is what I am giving up really a sacrifice?” The real purpose of “fasting” is to deny one’s self and trust in Christ alone.
Here’s my take. First off, I’m not Catholic. Second, lent isn’t specifically mentioned in the Bible, and there isn’t any scripture that instructs us to practice fasting leading up to Easter Sunday. There is new testament scripture that suggests religious fasting, but it is for the purpose of penitence, and get this… the Bible instructs us to keep it between us and God. Public recognition for the repentance and sacrifice you are making for the Lord is pretty twisted. Jesus also warned of this behavior and even said, “Truly I tell you, they have their reward in full.” I’m also not a fan of practices that prelude to a period of accepted indulgence. Basically, if the perceived notion is that this is all temporary and I will just go back to the same habits, lifestyle, patterns, and beliefs as before, what is the point? Same goes with 60-day challenges, week long cleanses, or anything else of a similar nature. So, what should you do in terms of Lent? I don’t practice it, nor does my family. What you do is up to you. I would only suggest that you evaluate what and why you practice Lent, or any religious practice for that matter. What is the true purpose?
Now, I’m going to flip this into everyday life. Why do we do this with so many different things? Why do we go through the motions with so much in our life just because that’s what society, or media, or friends tell us to do? STOP ⏤ Ask yourself why? Find the real reason, the real emotion, and the real purpose behind your actions. I talk about this in detail in my new book Relentless State of Mind, but I will let you in on one of the areas of what I like to call surface goals. (read more here) I describe this aspect in terms of goals that don’t really hold any true weight because they just describe an aspiration on the surface. A monetary goal, an object or possession, or some random number of pounds to be lost. There is no real meaning to their statements and thus hold no real purpose. Goals are pretty common to fall into this category, but can easily be evaluated. What about everything else though? What about the things we do day to day? We end up doing this with so much in our life, it’s easy to end up living life itself only on the surface.
Things we post about on social media, trendy diets we start, places we go, who we hang out with, what we watch, even our jobs can become things that have no real purpose. What if you put real thought and real purpose into every thing you did? Look at those around you. Do they fit your purpose? Align yourself with like minded individuals, people who share the same values and the same beliefs. Watch and read things that will advance your career, enlighten your perspective, and speak to your heart. The same goes with where you spend your time as well. Spend your time wisely, you can’t buy anymore of it. Your actions should be deliberate. You life should be purpose driven. I urge you to evaluate yourself. Look deep into your life well below the surface and find the purpose in your life, and then find the purpose of the things in your life. One needs to be aligned with the other.
Live your Life with Passion… Live your Life with Purpose.