I was recently thinking about Ash Wednesday and the reflection that occurs during the Lenten Journey and I was reminded of how many people “give up” something for Lent. The act of “giving up” something for Lent has become a cultural trend as much as a spiritual discipline. Historically, many of the popular items to give up are meat, chocolate, and soda. In more recent years I have heard more about people giving up social media and electronics. Each of these items is noble to give up and the sacrifice to give up these things may be greater for some than for others.
The act of “giving up” something for Lent is based in the spiritual discipline of fasting. In Scripture, fasting is most often tied to the act of praying. The act of fasting was not a celebration of my ability to keep myself from the enjoyment of food or some other activity, but it was a way to step away from the regular practice of the day (i.e. eating a meal) to spend extra time seeking the Lord in prayer. When we “give up” something for Lent, it is my hope that we add the spiritual discipline of prayer as a way to grow in our spiritual walk with Christ. As you consider what you may “give up” for Lent, don’t stop at the point of “giving up,” consider what it is that you will “take up” as a Means of Grace to help you grow into being more like Christ.