The Christian season of Lent began on Ash Wednesday and ends in forty days on Easter Sunday also called Resurrection Day as it signifies the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Lent is the time Christians use to prepare for Easter with fasting, spiritual discipline and repentance. Although the custom of Lent is not found in the Bible, the practice of repentance in ashes is found in several books of the Bible.
For many Christians the custom of Lent includes fasting from “something” during the forty days prior to Easter Sunday. The choices of what that something is and the reasoning behind the choices are myriad and would be a good topic to study for an enterprising graduate student. Many of the fasting choices people make seem superficial such as not eating any chocolate or not watching a certain show on television for forty days. Such choices are a form of fasting and after all, the fasting as well as the spiritual discipline and repentance, are between the person doing them and God.
Below is a list of twenty things to consider fasting from during Lent and all through the year. Try giving them up permanently and you will live your life abundantly. The list came from the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Old Bridge, NJ. Reverend Phil is their pastor.
1. Guilt- I am loved by Jesus and he has forgiven my sins. Today is a new day and the past is behind.2. Fear- God is on my side. In him I am more than a conqueror. 3. The need to please everyone- I can’t please everyone anyways. There is only one I need to strive to please. 4. Envy- I am blessed. My value is not found in my possessions, but in my relationship with my Heavenly Father. 5. Impatience- God’s timing is the perfect timing. 6. Sense of entitlement- The world does not owe me anything. God does not owe me anything. I live in humility and grace. 7. Bitterness and resentment- The only person I am hurting by holding on to these is myself. 8. Blame- I am not going to pass the buck. I will take responsibility for my actions. 9. Gossip and negativity- I will put the best construction on everything when it comes to other people. I will also minimize my contact with people who are negative and toxic bringing other people down. 10. Comparison- I have my own unique contributions to make and there is no one else like me. 11. Fear of failure- You don’t succeed without experiencing failure. Just make sure you fail forward. 12. A spirit of poverty- Believe with God that there is always more than enough and never a lack. 13. Feelings of unworthiness- You are fearfully and wonderfully made by your creator. 14. Doubt- Believe God has a plan for you that is beyond anything you could imagine. The future is brighter than you could ever realize. 15. Self-pity- God comforts us in our sorrow so that we can comfort others with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 16. Retirement- As long as you are still breathing, you are here for a reason. You have a purpose to influence others for Christ. That does not come to an end until the day we die. 17. Excuses- A wise man once said, “If you need an excuse, any excuse will do.” 18. Lack of counsel- Wise decisions are rarely made in a vacuum. 19. Pride- Blessed are the humble. 20. Worry- God is in control and worrying will not help.
The good news, for those who have faith and believe in God, you can pray for God’s help to internalize all the things listed above. For those who do not believe in God, internalizing the things listed above will help you live abundant lives as well. Each day is a new day and it is never too late to start.