Lent begins. On Shrove Tuesday I had waffles for breakfast, pancakes for dinner and more bacon and sausage than I needed. I had 40 days of pork in a single day. Then I contemplated what to give up for Lent and realized it was more about what I should gain…
16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.
22 the fruit of the Spirit is… self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
Gal 5:16-17, 22-26
I wasn’t going to do it at all, yet as the day wore on I felt more and more interest and intrigue as to what would happen if I participated. Wednesday morning I prayed through why I was interested in Lent and came to a place of conviction. Which is what I think this is about. Not interest and intrigue. Not me too. Not flavour of the week. This isn’t a New Year’s resolution to break by Saturday night.
I desire God.
And out of my desire for God, I desire to develop more spiritual discipline.
Specifically, I desire more self-control as a fruit of the presence of the Holy Spirit in my life.
My flesh does battle with the Holy Spirit every day. All day. Some days I produce more fruit of the flesh than fruit of the Spirit. For me, self-control has a lot to do with my fruit. And so I am exercising self-control for 40 days. Intentionally. Daily.
And as my flesh desires what is contrary to the Holy Spirit and my spirit, I will be drawn into prayer to work through it. Every day.
This is my Lent. It may not be what the textbook says. But I don’t follow the Christian textbook. I follow Christ. And I am convicted today that He is leading me to increased self-control and a closer walk with the Spirit to get there.
I debated whether I would reveal what I am giving up. Because it isn’t about that. It’s about what is building up in me as Christ becomes greater. Not about what is being removed. And so I think I’ll just tell those closest to me so they can help me along. See you in 40.