I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forego their use.
– Galileo Galilei
Making sacrifices during Lenten season is a measure of Christian faith. It symbolizes the 40 days of Jesus fasting before he began his earthly ministry – but this isn’t mere tradition or ritual. Abstaining from various foods or activities for a specified number of days, and permanently refraining from all things unhealthy, unproductive, and unwise enhances the soul’s transformation and makes one more like Christ.
Fasting during Lenten season has always bewildered me because people “religiously” (me included) around this time of year, affirm their sacrifices, make their pledges of forbearance, and stick too them. But when the clock strikes twelve midnight, signifying the end of 40 days, more often than not – if not immediately, then eventually – people revert to their old and lesser selves. Whether we are aware of it or not, we may find ourselves re-engaging in habits, patterns, and practices designed to keep us from living the life of health, peace, prosperity, and more specifically, the prosperity that God intends for each of us.
Why not make today the beginning of your Lenten life? Effective immediately, dispense and nix habits, practices, and even people who are inconsistent with the person and life God has blueprinted for you.
The following list, not intended to be comprehensive, rather, written with a broad enough stroke will hopefully allow each of us to find our Achilles Heel. Please feel free to make your own list of habits, people, and attitudes that you want to abstain from the rest of the year. Here is an example you can use as your guide:
- Bad manners,
- Texting while driving (for those who still haven’t gotten it figured out). Let me add drinking and driving while I’m on this subject,
- Friends who take and never give,
- Companions who drain and don’t fulfill,
- Weight that has no place on your back,
- Reading and believing your own “press release” without question.
At first, making a list like this may feel like you’re trying to live a life of severe abstinence. But it is only through abstaining from things that are unhealthy and destructive – both spiritually and physically – that we can live a life that is healthy, productive, and fulfilling. And only when we are fulfilled this way can we enjoy the prosperous life that the Lord has planned for us.
What’s the most important item on your “abstinence list”?
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