Monday, February 27, 2012

Growing Through Lent - Fasting

(This Lent, my Dad, Rev. Hollis Hiscock, and I are co-blogging! You can find our posts every Monday at my Blog and Dad’s Blog. Visit, comment, share, and most importantly, feel free to join us in the journey.)

“What are you GIVING UP for Lent?”


“What are you TAKING UP for Lent?”

When it comes to FASTING, these two questions
“go together like a horse and carriage.”

Fasting can last for a short or long time, and should be directed to improve your relationship with yourself, other people, or God. Most people think of fasting from food, but your fast could be from anything that might be a distraction for you, such as alcohol, television, negative thoughts, unwanted behaviours, smoking, arguing, swearing, or even gossip.

Jesus also offered this advice when fasting – “Put on a happy face” – OK, that's not his exact words, but he did say,

“When you fast, don’t make yourselves look sad like the hypocrites. They put a look of suffering on their faces so that people will see they are fasting. The truth is, that’s all the reward they will get. So when you fast, wash your face and make yourself look nice. Then no one will know you are fasting, except God, who is with you even in private. God can see what is done in private, and will reward you.”
(Matthew 6:16-19)

But to “give up” without “taking up”
could put you in a worse state than when you started.

Jesus warned his followers about the dangers of giving up something without replacing it with something positive. He relates this little known incident called “The Danger of Emptiness” --

“When an evil spirit comes out of someone, it travels through dry places, looking for a place to rest. But it finds no place to rest. So it says, ‘I will go back to the home I left.’ When it comes back, it finds that home all neat and clean. Then the evil spirit goes out and brings back seven other spirits more evil than itself. They all go and live there, and that person has even more trouble than before.”
(Luke 11:24-26)

So, this means when one gives up something like junk food, the time, energy and money freed up should be replaced doing something else, such as volunteering at a shelter or a community meal, or contributing money to a needy cause. Or if one decides to give up thinking evil thoughts, then these should be replaced by better, more positive thoughts and so on. Get the idea?

This Lenten season, we encourage you to both
give up and take up something.
Feel free to leave your experience in the comments section.

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