One of my favorite meals growing up was breakfast for supper. From about the time I was 10 or 11, I was responsible for supper one night a week (or two if my brother paid me to cook on his night). At that age, my skills were somewhat limited. My repertoire included mac 'n cheese, hot dogs, pasta, fried bologna sandwiches, grits, eggs, bacon and pancakes. Frequently we had breakfast for supper. It was quick; everyone liked it; I felt accomplished.
Breakfast for supper is still one of my favorites. It's fun. It's different. It's unexpected. It's what we had for supper last night, after the cookies and ice cream from the Upwards party. We indulged. We celebrated Mardi Gras inasmuch as Southern Baptists observe the liturgical calendar.
Today marks the end of that indulging. Today is Ash Wednesday; the first day of Lent. Lent is a time to reflect on the sacrifice that Christ made for us on the cross and prepare for the celebration of his resurrection at Easter. In turn, many Christians make some sort of sacrifice for the 40 days of the Lenten season. Although I grew up thinking these traditions were only for the people who went to the fancy churches and cathedrals, I've learned their significance and have come to embrace them.
Sweet tea was my first sacrifice. For this Southern born and bred girl, that was huge! There were two drinks in my house growing up: whole milk and my mama's sweet tea. What I found was that I didn't NEED sweet tea like I had always thought. Please don't mistake me. I love a good glass of sweet tea. I just don't NEED it any more. It is now my choice and not my default.
There have been other things I have given up over the years: chocolate (that was a doozy), sleeping in, and yes, even facebook. What I have discovered is that there will always be something that can get in the way of my relationship with Christ. They may not be full-fledged idols. Yet. I don't want idols. I've had too many. They always disappoint.
They always fall short. They always fail to deliver what I really
need...true communion and relationship with my God, my Savior.
Lent has become my time to reflect on what is encroaching on my relationship with Christ. My time to give whatever it is to Christ, confess my sin, receive forgiveness, and reclaim that time for Christ alone. This year it's my thoughts. Not nearly as quantifiable as sweet tea or chocolate, but at risk to become an idol nonetheless. 2 Corinthians 10:4-6 tell us:
4For the weapons of our
warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are
mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds,
as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and
lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God;
and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of
Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One),
in readiness to punish every [insubordinate for his] disobedience, when
your own submission and obedience [as a church] are fully secured and
Taking every thought captive to Christ is something I don't do well. I'm apt to let my thoughts turn into emotions; emotions into words; words into actions I usually regret. In order to prevent this, I must go to the source, my thoughts. I need to surround myself with Truth so that my thoughts are true; flood my mind with God's Word. I want to walk empowered by the Holy Spirit. I want to walk in victory, knowing Christ has already won, already defeated the enemy, already conquered death.
Do you celebrate Lent? What is keeping you from walking in the power of the Holy Spirit? What are you turning over to Christ for the next 40 days?
*for more information on Lent check out The Season of Lent.