I have two big questions to ask you.

1. How many pancakes did you manage to eat?

2. Have you given up anything for lent?

We continue on our journey to Easter considering different disciplines that aid our Christian journey of faith. This week we’re looking at fasting. This is possibly the word we associate most with lent, although I do seem to see more and more people taking up something during lent rather than giving up something.

I had 6 pancakes this year, 3 on Tuesday, and 3 on Wednesday – we still had lemon and it seemed a shame to waste it!

Why do we have pancakes on Shrove Tuesday? The ingredients needed to make pancakes were considered to be luxurious, and lent was a time of fasting from those luxuries, and therefore the ingredients needed to be eaten. Whereas now people specifically go to the shop to buy things for making pancakes, which bizarrely defeats the whole point!

So… fasting. Why? Mike Bickle says

Fasting is a grace that significantly increases our receptivity to the Lord’s voice and His word

Grace suggests that it is a good thing… how can fasting, giving up something you enjoy, be a good thing?

If we are completely honest, when are the times that we turn to God the most? I may be wrong, but I imagine for a lot of us it is when we are struggling, when something is going wrong, when we need something. Why? Human nature! Why talk to God/listen to God when everything is hunkydory?

When thinking about Lent, and what to give up, it shouldn’t be something that you could easily live without. It should be a struggle. What happens when we struggle? Where do we draw our strength from? God!

Lent isn’t an instruction from God, we haven’t been ordered to give up chocolate. It is a choice that people make, in order to reconnect with God. The 40 days is in remembrance of Jesus, who went to the desert for 40 days after his Baptism and before his ministry began. It was difficult, he struggled, he faced temptation but… every single time he remembered words from the scripture and he turned to the Father for strength.

What I’ve found with God, is that I take a certain problem/issue to him and then he will often talk to me about something else! Lent may be a time when we are seeking God to help us through whatever we have given up, but all we are doing is opening up those channels of communication again.

Challenge: you may or may not have already given up something for lent, but what can you fast from this week? What luxury would you struggle without?

Prayer: father God we thank you that your lines of communication are always open. Help us to turn to you no matter what the situation we are in. We pray for al those who have set themselves a challenge in Lent and pray that it will strengthen their relationship with you. Amen

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