Happy season of Lent everyone! If you did not know, we are currently in the church season of lent right now and it is something practiced in many churches around the world. Lent takes place during the 40 days leading up to Easter morning. Traditionally, christians who take part in Lent will fast or give up (abstain from taking part in) something for the 40 days of Lent. This idea of Lent and fasting is what has brought me to the subject of this post today. I want to share my 4 steps to fasting for Lent.
I want to take a moment and quickly say I am definitely not the definitive answer to this topic. I am simply sharing my view of fasting for Lent. These 4 steps have been formed over a time of studying the scripture and taking part in Lent. Feel free to disagree with me. It is ok. Now that we have that out of the way, lets get started.
STEP 1: Decide on something to fast that is difficult to give up. It needs to be something that causes you a little bit of discomfort or pain when you do not have it in your daily routine anymore.
When you fast something difficult to give up and something that brings discomfort, you are able to experience a very very very very small fraction of the pain Jesus endured for you on the cross. In this pain and discomfort, the Easter story become tangible to you.
STEP 2: What you fast needs to be something part of your daily routine.
The practice of fasting is about centering yourself to God. When you fast something in your daily routine, you will reach a time when you hit a mental wall when you go to take part in your normal routine of something but quickly remember you are fasting. It is in this time, when you would normally partake in that food, hobby or practice that you should take time for prayer, reading scripture and listening to God in place of the time you would spend on the thing you’re fasting.
STEP 3: What you fast needs to be something that we greatly enjoy and that we are able to get back when lent is over.
This might seem like a strange step, but it is an important step. In the same way that you experience Easter in a tangible way through the pain of your fast, you also experience Easter in the joy of finishing your fast and getting your item of fasting back. Easter morning is all about the celebration of Jesus being risen from the grave. When you finish your fast there will be a sense of joy and celebration. In this joy, you are able to experience a very very very small amount of the joy the followers of Jesus felt upon see Jesus alive again.
STEP 4: When you fast, do not tell anyone about your fast.
This final step comes straight from scripture. Jesus says in Matthew 6:16-18,
“And when you fast, don’t put on a sad face like the hypocrites. They distort their faces so people will know they are fasting. I assure you that they have their reward. When you fast, brush your hair and wash your face. Then you won’t look like you are fasting to people, but only to your Father who is present in that secret place. Your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
Simply put, fasting is all about you and God. No one else needs to be involved.
There you have it! My 4 steps to fasting for lent. Let me know what your thoughts are on fasting for lent in the comments below.