I love Diet Mt. Dew. In fact, wherever I work I almost always have a person in my office whom I dub a “Dew Nazi”. That is, the person who is always on me to drink more water and less Dew. I feel like I need the caffeine, no different from someone who needs their morning java.
Perhaps my idea of need and want are skewed. Perhaps I need more rest. Perhaps I need more focus. Perhaps I want Diet Dew to sustain me instead taking care of myself for what I need.
Today is Mardi Gras, “Fat Tuesday”. It was started many years ago as the final day to feast before the observation of Lent. Being a society of immediate gratification, we have turned this day into day of drunken revelry and of the flesh. Gluttony.
Then tomorrow, we wake up and fast, repent and refocus.
I grew up Catholic, well kind of anyway. I was subjected to catechism, occasional services and midnight masses. But I never grasped the idea behind much of it. It never spoke into my heart.
As an adult, I firmly believe different religions are out there to teach the same message in a different style. Sometimes we as humans get confused as to what that message actually is, but that’s for another blog. The point is, in growing with Christ I have questioned much of the Catholic practices as I haven’t always been able to find a biblical basis for it.
Lent is one of them.
To my understanding, Lent is a time to fast and refocus our spiritual lives and preparation for Good Friday, the day of Jesus’ Death, and Easter, the day of His resurrection. It is a 40 day period, which if used as its intended, will allow a true understanding and appreciation for the nails a sinless man took for your sin and mine.
Really think about this. Think about a time when you were without something you truly needed. Maybe it was money for your next meal. Grieving the loss of a loved one. Maybe something as simple as your missing car keys on a day you absolutely cannot be late. It’s in these most destitute times when we cry out to God, when we focus on God for His help in overcoming them, that we are able to see how He can make an impossible situation, possible.
So while I can find no place in the bible that commands us to celebrate Lent, I can finally see why many Christians follow this practice and can appreciate the discipline behind it.
“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry.” Matthew 4:1
Jesus was a sinless man. While He was in the desert, the devil came to Jesus repeatedly to tempt him. But because Jesus was led by the Spirit, he did not fall to temptation.
“The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” 1 Corinthians 10:13
This Lent Season, I will be led by the Spirit into the wilderness where satan will undoubtedly tempt me. For forty days and forty nights I will go without caffeine. I will look to God to take this from me and help discipline me into healthier practices, which will allow Him to use me more fully. And at the end of this fasting, I am certain to have a love for Him that is far greater than what it is now, and that is unimaginable…and exciting.
But I will do it only because the Spirit will lead me. I make this commitment on the anniversary of my 7th month of sobriety. It is only by the grace of God I have come this far in these 7 months. I cannot wait to see where these 40 days will lead me.
Today is Mardi Gras. I will not use it for gluttony. I may have a Dew or two, but no more than the norm.
Tomorrow I will give them up. I am certain it won’t be easy but nothing worth attaining is.
Will you join me?