February 9, 2016
It’s very unusual for a Christian of the Baptist persuasion to keep Lent. I do not attend a Baptist Church presently but consider my beliefs of that persuation. The B-I-B-L-E (singing the B-I-B-L-E, yes that’s the book for me) is my rule of faith and it doesn’t mention Lent. It doesn’t mention a lot of other things that I participate in, but that’s another story.
I came to Lent totally by accident. During the last election in 2012, Glen Beck called for a 40 day fast to pray for the elections. I rarely listen to Glen Beck, but did that day and felt and still feel our country is in serious decline. I also believe in the power of prayer. I decided to take the challenge. I swore off sugar and sugar substitute. The President was reelected and I began to lose that weight I couldn’t seem to lose otherwise. I don’t have a lot of will power when it comes to sugar but I made a vow to God and I take that pretty serious! I am not advocating Lent as a weight loss program!
Last year right about the time Lent was beginning, I had some serious concerns about some family issues that I felt needed serious prayer. I recalled the young man who was possessed by evil spirits that could not be healed by the Apostles. Jesus told them in Mark 9:29 that “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting”. Since I had a very serious concern, I was determined again to do a 40 day fast. I decided to give up coffee. I have a pretty serious coffee addition. I thought chocolate was bad. Oh the headaches I suffered and just generally feeling bad. Even my Excedrin Migraine did not help. I completed the 40 days and swore never to go off caffeine again!
Lent was not taught in any of the churches I’ve attended. Even Good Friday was not given much attention. In doing a little research this year, since I’m leaning toward this as a practice each year, one site mentioned that Catholics consider this as a form of pennance. I see it as a remembrance of the 40 day trial of fasting and temptation of Jesus in the desert shortly before his crucifixion. It can represent participating in the sufferings of Christ. 1 Peter 4:13 says, ” But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.” This verse probably does not advocate Lent, but suffering is part of the Christian life.
This year I’m still faced with the same family problems, and the election cycle for President has started again. It’s even more pressing that these problems be solved. Even though the problems have not changed, I am changing. Even though I still have a tendency toward going to the worst case scenario, I’m beginning to learn to find daily joy and to remind myself that Satan loves to use these things to steal my joy. Jesus tells me in Matthew 6:34, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough of its own.”
For me, participating in a Lenton fast means a time of a closer walk with Christ as I rely on him to overcome my temptation to quit what I have vowed to give up and not take back the problem that I am putting at his feet. So what will I give up this year? Worry, doubt, unbelief? Or will I receive something by learning and reading about Jesus’ journey prior to his crucifixion? Tommorrow, February 10th, lent begins.