The allure of sweet stuff
Oftentimes people give up sweets, chocolate, or some sort of junk food. Perhaps I was just immature in my faith when I gave up chocolate for Lent. I found that this sacrifice or fast led me to assume more of a dieting perspective than one of intentional worship, service, prayer, and confession. I found that eliminating sweets from my diet during Lent led me to indulge in a more gluttonous Shrove (fat) Tuesday, Easter, and Sunday skip day. For me, that type of fast was purely behavioral and did not lead to a spiritual cleansing of the mind.
Through various voices within my church family, I learned a new approach to Lenten sacrifice: take on something good. By committing to a spiritual practice or discipline, I naturally make sacrifices. If I commit to reading my Bible each morning, I naturally sacrifice that ten to twenty minutes of sleep I allow myself by hitting the “snooze” button on my alarm clock. If I commit to engaging in worship and fellowship time at small group or prayer meetings, I naturally sacrifice time I might have spent watching TV, or attempting to ratify the consequences of procrastination, or with friends doing…(fill in the blank). This approach makes labeling your Lenten sacrifice a little trickier. It’s much easier to say, “I’m giving up chocolate for lent,” but aren’t our sacrifices between God and us? We needn’t talk about them. We don’t need the labels.