Wednesday, February 22, 2012

What are you giving up? - 1st Thursday in Lent

Once again today's devotion was written by Beth, who is terrific.

"For it is by grace you have been saved through faith; and this not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

I don’t think I hear anything come up during Lent more than what you are giving up. From cigarettes or fast food to facebook, everyone tries to find a way to better themselves, or draw closer to God. Sometimes, people have wonderful testimonies of what God’s done through their fasting from this or that thing. A lot of people end up complaining. Some people try to take on something for Lent instead: finding a beautiful new practice that will force them to grow. Those often end in complaining too, leaving a lot of people ready for Easter just to get past Lent. It makes you wonder: why do we even give it up at all?

Sometimes we feel like we need to earn God’s Love. He gave it to us for free the first time, and we can try to convince ourselves that His gift was a one time deal; from now on we have to earn it. Nothing could be further from the truth! God stays the same always, and what He said in Ephesians He means—every day. Every time. Fasting can be great. Giving something up or taking something on can be a way to grow. But no matter what you take on or give up, that is not what will bring you close to God. There is one way to come to Him, and that is through Jesus. He gave up the only thing needed—His life, so that we could be joyful, beautiful sons and daughters of God. You are free from any obligations! If you choose to give up or take on, do it gladly! Let it be a blessing, not a chore.

Will you give something up? Take something on? Bask in the awesomeness of God’s freedom? Why?

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