I know a lot of people fast from something during Lent and then proceed to tell the world about their decision. It seems almost like they’re bragging, that somehow by them giving up that one thing they have become better than those around them. But your fasting and your discipline to follow through does not somehow remove your human condition. You’re not better than anyone else. I’m not better than anyone else. I forget that sometimes.
Whatever I chose to give up is irrelevant. There are things I put before God. One of my favorite pastors says “When good things become ultimate things, ultimately good things become destructive.” And I think that speaks a lot to why I participate in Lent – because in my human condition, I make good things destructive. While I fast from one thing I easily find something to replace it. Something that isn’t God. Giving up seems like such an easy concept that I cannot achieve on my own.
Actually, the fact that I chose to give something up at all has very little relevance. The first year I chose to give something up for Lent I did so because when I looked around me it seemed like that was what I was supposed to do. It had no meaning, no good purpose really. And even though I did it alongside others, I tried to succeed on my own and failed. When I rely on God rather than myself, that’s when I make it through.
And that makes sense. Lent really isn’t about what I can do, it’s about what He can do in my life. I didn’t die on a cross so that every single person who has ever and will ever walk this planet could be saved, He did. As much as I would love to be able to say that I would have, it’s just not true. I am not strong enough. I am not perfect enough. But because of his strength and perfection I am enough. I think that’s the point – not to prove my strength, but to demonstrate his and to walk in the light of His perfection.