Lent starts this week, and I confess, I have never given anything up for Lent. My daughter and her colleagues decided to draw foods out of a hat, and they would give up whichever food they drew. I don't think they actually put the food in the hat, it wouldn't be big enough for a start; actually I'm not sure they even had a hat?
One year I thought I might give up bread, but I forgot and bought myself a Greggs for lunch, and it was only the first day. What sort of hopeless Christian am I? When I challenge myself to live without bread for 40 days and I can't even walk past a Greggs on day one?
I'll tell you what sort of Christian I am. One who is forgiven daily for saying the wrong things, behaving the wrong way and hurting the Lord I love. This is why I need a Saviour who can overcome temptation. If I'd been in the desert and was hungry and tired and Satan had said to me "tell these stones to become bread" If I had the power to do so, I'd have said, "don't mind if I do - in fact better than that, I've got a Greggs card, d'you fancy a Cajun chicken bap?" Thank God that Jesus went through that temptation and was able to think straight, even though He was starving, and answer the Devil by saying "Man shall not live by bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God" He didn't need the quick fix of the 'food' the Devil was offering, He knew all He needed was provided for Him by God.
Of course there's nothing wrong with eating bread, even for Jesus I don't think it would've been wrong for him to eat, but he had gone into the desert to fast and the Devil was tempting Jesus with a short cut solution to his problem.
Often this is how temptation works, it's not something that's necessarily bad for us we end up being tempted with, perhaps just something at the wrong time for the wrong reasons.
Maybe that year I failed at giving up bread was because I hadn't really prepared myself, I hadn't set about it with the right mindset, it was just a fad thought that I'd give it a try because everyone seemed to be talking about what they were giving up, and I felt I might be missing out, so inevitably when the temptation arose, I didn't even give a seconds thought to the 'commitment' I'd made.
Do you do Lent? If I do it this year, I'm going to try to make sure I go into it with the right heartset, because I want to put more focus on God and not because I want to keep up with what others are doing, although I'm still not sure it's something I'll follow through on! Me, I'm all about the pancakes.