Thursday, February 23, 2012


Until about 5 minutes ago, I really didn't know why Christians celebrated the season (40 days) before Easter, called Lent. I just read a great blog post by Tim Kimberely on Parchment & Pen called A Short History of Lent. In summary, Lent is supposed to a time of serious self-denial. Self denial? Denial of one's self, dying to self, fasting, and self-control are all seemingly foreign concepts to our Western culture. I can say that because I live here in the U.S. where we enjoy innumerable blessings at the tip of our fingers. From grocery stores to restaurants to coffee shops to hospitals to gas stations, the list goes on, we have our needs met at the drop of a hat. Now, please do not get me wrong, I am extremely thankful that we have access to food, healthcare, water, and gas for our vehicles, because many people around the world do not. However, I do think that this makes us an ungrateful people at times, and the concepts of fasting and self-denial are rarely understood, let alone practiced.

On Monday our church observed a day of fasting and prayer. It was difficult. It is contrary to our nature, to deny ourselves that which we are used to. I am used to eating when I am hungry. I am not used to relying on prayer to give me strength throughout my day. Even if you do not (because you may be unable to for medical reasons, etc.) fast meals, perhaps you are able to fast from other things: media, TV, Facebook, shopping, or eating out?

This morning I learned at important lesson that is just beginning to sink into my mind. Let me set the scene: Chance and I were getting ready for our day, making our lunches, getting dressed, and chatting about our evening's plans. I mentioned that I didn't think I'd have time to go to the grocery store tonight, and he asked why. I told because I couldn't fit in my run, grocery shopping, a prayer meeting, and a phone call to a friend, all in one night! He went quiet all of a sudden and we both went about our business.. I was being slowly convicted. Did Chance need me serve him by going to the store? Absolutely. Did I want to give up my precious running time in the beautiful weather? Absolutely not! One sentence of the previously mentioned blog post stuck out to me, it read, "In denying ourselves we are able to catch a glimpse of the cosmic self-denial made by the second person of the Trinity for the salvation of mankind." Wow. So, do I need to choose to serve my husband rather than myself in order to serve my God and emulate what Jesus did by perfect example? Absolutely yes. Is it difficult for my flesh to lay down my idols and sacrifice for the sake of others? Again, of course it is. But will God be honored in my doing so and my asking of Him to enable me to do so joyfully and willingly? Yes! And to Him be all the glory for His Son's example of perfect service to sinful mankind.

Will you contemplate with me how you can be like Christ in self-denial, this month? Will you pray and ask God how you put be able to give something up in order to atune your senses to Him this season? And will you rely steadfastly on the One who gave Himself, literally, for your sake?

"Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." -Philippians 2:3-8

Lord, make us willing to be willing...

1 comment:

  1. Hey Kathryn....great post! I really try to live by that first statement on the last paragraph...but boy its a hard concept to understand and even harder to practice...not many are capable and much less are willing....humility is a priceless quality!