You may have heard about the Christian observance of Lent, but nor really know what it is about. It is the Christian season of preparation before Easter. Here in Canada, Ash Wednesday is the first day of the season of Lent, which begins 40 days prior to Easter (Sundays are not included in the count). This year it began on February 13 and will end on March 30.
Lent is a time when many Christians prepare for Easter, the most significant event in since creation, by observing a period of fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline. The purpose is to set aside time for reflection on Jesus Christ – his suffering and his sacrifice, his life, death, burial and resurrection, and on one’s own spiritual condition.
Losing weight or getting physically fit is not what a spiritual fast is about. Instead, it is about getting spiritually fit.
Fasting can also mean giving up things other than food. You may want to consider giving up TV, social media, texting, a favorite hobby, or something else that is important to you. Use the time you would have used for whatever you gave up, to focus on spiritual things.
Fasting requires self-control and discipline as one denies the natural desires of the flesh. During spiritual fasting, the believer’s focus is removed from the physical things of this world and intensely concentrated on God. Put differently, fasting directs our hunger toward God. It clears the mind and body of earthly attentions and draws us close to God. So, as we gain spiritual clarity of thought while fasting, it allows us to hear God more clearly. Fasting also demonstrates a profound need for God’s help and guidance through complete dependence upon him.
Warning: Before fasting, make sure there is no medical reason you shouldn’t fast, and if you are a minor, ask your parent’s permission before you fast.
For a Bible reading guide during Lent, click here.