Instead of giving up something for Lent, how about...
Okay, so a couple days ago was Ash Wednesday. I heard people talk about what they would be giving up as a sacrifice to show their devotion to God. A biggie this year—and almost every year—is abstaining from eating chocolate. Others include all sweets, coffee, carbs, cigarettes and all manner of worldly pleasures.
Well, how about, for Lent this year, we give. No, I didn’t leave a word off—I simply said we give. How about we give something to God—something that would please Him—something that shows our love and devotion to Him—something sacrificial.
Perhaps our something could reflect Romans 12:1-2 (NKJV): “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
Would such a personal sacrifice not please God more than giving up chocolate? Would it not show sincere love and devotion to our Heavenly Father?
What would a living sacrifice look like? The Biblical idea of a sacrifice was the offering of an animal to God as an act of worship. So when Paul spoke of a “living sacrifice” he was taking it to a personal level.
Paul was urging us to offer ourselves instead of killing an animal. He even said that giving ourselves, physically, to God is a reasonable act of worship.
In doing so, Paul wants us to not be conformed—shaped or influenced—by this world and its worldly systems. Instead we should be transformed by the renewing of our minds.
We can all agree there is much in the world that can contaminate our lives and our minds. Instead of allowing ourselves to slip into conformity with the negatives in the world, Paul advises that we be transformed into what is good, acceptable and in the perfect will of God.
In order to accomplish this we must make a conscious effort to renew our minds. Most anything that takes a conscious effort requires some degree of sacrifice.
What do you think God would like for you to offer up to Him as a living sacrifice during this Lenten season?
Perhaps you haven’t opened your Bible for a while or at least not on a regular basis. Maybe you don’t even own one. Since Bible reading and study is essential for getting to know God well, I suggest this just might be something that would please God and show love for Him. The sacrifice of getting up 15-30 minutes earlier in the morning to spend time with your Creator and in His Word can bring great personal benefits and really make Him smile.
Or, maybe you haven’t been to church for a while. No doubt getting involved with the body of Christ will please God. Yes, getting up and out to attend a Christian service involves personal sacrifice but the benefits are innumerable and, again will put a smile on your Heavenly Father’s face.
Okay, so you’re in the Word and are active in a local church—Hallelujah for that! Sincerely ask God what He would have you offer to Him as your living sacrifice during this special season.
God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7). Let’s each listen for His answer and then follow through and present ourselves holy and acceptable to God in a beautiful act of worship. Considering all He has done for us, it is but a small thing. He is worthy of all praise and glory and honor.
So while you’re enjoying your chocolate that you didn’t need to give up after all—take some of it to treat an elderly person who needs a touch of love. Give of yourself to that lonely person or to the single mom who would like to go grocery shopping without her kids for a change.
Don’t get me wrong. If God is telling you to fast or give up chocolate, by all means, do so. But, in addition, you might want to ask Him how He wants you to be a living sacrifice while preparing for Holy Week.
Feel free to share your Lenten experiences as a comment below.
©Copyright 2017 Connie Wohlford