YES! Self Denial Is Good!
Happy Ash Wednesday and the start of our focus on the Easter season and what Jesus’s sacrifice meant!
When I consider what Jesus has done for me, anything I might consider doing, or giving up seems to pale in comparison.
It halts my complaining, my groaning and my whining as well as my bragging and gloating.
So it’s that time of year when many people give up things that they enjoy. Soda, chocolate, dessert… much of the time it’s food.
I asked my daughter what she might like to give up for Lent. She replied, “Do I have to?” To which I told her she didn’t have to, but it’s a good thing to do, and why. My son on the other hand felt led immediately up for the challenge! The differences in their reactions lead me to believe it’s a heart issue. Don’t we usually say, “Do we HAVE to?” When asked to give something up. Even as an adult I don’t really appreciate someone suggesting something might be causing me more harm than good. That’s called pride.
I like the idea of giving something up for Lent. God says self-denial is good, and teaches us a lot.
We have time to focus on God when those desires of what we “used to do/eat” rear their head. We can take that time to reflect on whatever “that” means in our life, not just now – but throughout the year. Self denial, and things that get in way – are not bound to JUST Lenten season. In fact, if we recognize them as that much of a vice – shouldn’t we truly get rid of them altogether?
This Scripture always hits me deep in my soul:
“And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” Matthew 6:16-17
So basically we aren’t called to announce what we’re giving up. In fact, if we’re doing it for God – He’s the only one who needs to know. When we go and announce it to show our goodness – that’s missing the entire purpose. The same goes for COMPLAINING (of which I am the worst!) about what you’re giving up. Remember – it’s between you and God.
Whoa is me.
Feel sorry for me.
Look how great I am for giving up ______.
Yeah, that pretty much punched me right in the gut. Thanks God, I needed that.
“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” – Luke 16:10
“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart.
For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Luke 6:45