I never fast during the Lenten season. By fasting, I mean “giving up” some creature comfort in my everyday life, as the modern custom goes. Honestly, I’m tainted when it comes to this subject.
I grew up hearing this most peculiar phrase…
”I’m giving up chocolate for Lent.”
”She’s giving up shoe shopping for Lent.”
"Little Jason is giving up Nintendo for Lent.”
As a kid in a nominal Christian home, watching this custom from the benches left me feeling…
Unrighteous. Unholy. Unworthy.
Of coarse, as a child those weren’t the exact phrases I thought of. More or less, just a general sense of “Un”.
Now, fully understanding the concept—and the many degrees—of Mortification of the Flesh, the custom irks me even more.
Not the fasting, or the sacrifice of one’s creature comforts to relate more to Christ and His sacrifice. It’s a wonderful tool to draw near to Him.
It’s the announcing it to anyone who’ll listen that makes me cringe.
I want to shout, “No! You’re not supposed to tell me! What’s the point if you tell people?”
Sure, you might find yourself needing to explain to someone WHY you aren’t watching American Idol or eating the fantastic chocolate cake their served for dessert. That type of revelation is usually not boastful. Usually. I’m sure there are exceptions.
I am not a theologian, but I know this: fasting, prayer, and charity are NOT meant to be done for the approval of man. God knows our hearts and intentions.
If you love the Lord, and fast during Lent, that is awesome. He is where our righteousness rests.
If you insist on telling everyone and their brother that you are “giving up Starbuck’s for Lent”, I hope your audience is impressed.
Don’t get your hair shirt in a bunch, but I’m not. And I have a sneaking suspicion that I’m not the only one.
"When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.