Part five of the 1 Corinthians 13 series.
“If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.”
1 Corinthians 13:3
Have you decided what you’re giving up for Lent this year?
If you haven’t then I’ve done some googling for ideas on our behalf. You’re welcome!
Instagram filters - not a massive issue so I’ll pass on that one.
Trolling online - Which Christians are trolling people to the degree that they need to give it up for Lent?!
Weighing yourself - I’m in my forties, that ship has sailed!
Anger - not a massive issue for me so maybe not.
Sleeping in a bed- erm…
Binge-watching - Nope! Just nope!
Clutter - Unless this was a family effort then I would probably start having issues with one of the earlier items in the list!
I’ve cherry-picked these examples as I also found many suggestions that made perfect sense to me. There are ideas like giving up over-scheduling, complaining, comfort eating, or sacrificing time by getting up half an hour earlier each day to pray. There are lots of helpful websites with carefully thought through ideas and of course there’s the excellent 40 Acts programme that focuses our hearts on generous giving during Lent.
What struck me as I read about Lent, was how we seem to have distorted its original purpose. Lent is meant to prepare our hearts in the run-up to Easter. It’s meant to be a time of reflection and self-sacrifice as we remember what Christ sacrificed for us. I’m not sure when it became about giving up things that ultimately benefit us, rather than reflect our love for Jesus.
When we decide what we will sacrifice for Lent we also need to check our motivation. If we take part in the 40 Acts programme with the hope that it will fill up our social media feed with reminders of how great we are, then that isn’t motivated by love. If we give up chocolate, cakes, and biscuits simply to slim down our waistline, then the only person we’re loving is ourselves. Neither one of these ideas are bad, it’s our motivation that is important.
Whatever you decide to do for Lent this year, let it be motivated by love?
As you listen to the beautiful words of Cory Asbury’s ‘Reckless Love’, reflect on how much God loves you. Spend time in prayer and ask God to reveal what He would like you to sacrifice for Lent this year, not for your benefit, but as an expression of love.
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights 'til I'm found, leaves the ninety-nine
I couldn't earn it, and I don't deserve it, still, You give Yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God,
Reckless Love - Cory Asbury