As the season of Lent approaches, I seem to have become more contemplative. This year, especially, I am noticing my desire to dig into Scripture and better prepare my heart and mind for these 40 days.
I began reading a book recommended by a colleague called, “Simplicity: The Freedom of Letting Go”, by Richard Rohr. I’ve only read the first chapter, but am blown away by the use of Scripture and historical context to share some profound thoughts.
The reason I share this is because the first chapter discusses self image & fasting, which during Lent refers to what we are giving up or “fasting from”. For some people, they choose a day of the week to fast from eating for a certain number of hours. For many, the fasting is from those vices which cause us more harm than good. It’s a season to strip away those distractions that keep us from spending time with Jesus. They also remind us Jesus sacrificed his life for ours and all of those sinful behaviors for which we cannot give up on our own.
It’s a practice to become less distracted, well at least for a few months. I’ve given up Facebook and candy and digital games, but I can’t seem to remember the value of any of that, as when the 40 days are over, I return to my old ways. It’s the very nature of being human, we are sinful and will return to that which we do not want to do (Romans 7:14-16). This year I am feeling the pull to take a harder look at what is keeping me from focusing on Jesus.
Richard Rohr shares in his book a reference to the Scripture of Jesus’ temptation to better describe fasting. I plan to write my next blog post on the whole passage because there is so much more to discuss.
“Jesus went into the wilderness for forty days (Matthew 4:2). where he got rid of his images, He was emptied. And that’s the real meaning of fasting: to be emptied of your own images” (24).
Jesus himself, though sinless and God, still experienced temptation as a human being.
The question I ask myself and will wrestle with in this next week as I contemplate the purpose of fasting is:
What images do I need to be emptied of?