Give Up What!

In the season of Lent, I’m often asked, mainly by non-Christian friends, ‘What have you given up for Lent?’ I reply as graciously as possible, ‘I’m not giving up anything, I’m putting on.’ I commend people who during this period give up something which they feel they should not be doing. It is good to give up a habit which is becoming too important in our lives but surely the period of Lent gives us something more important.

My mind goes to the story of Jesus, as it should, being tempted by the devil in the wilderness for forty days. When the devil asks Jesus to turn the stones into bread, Jesus replies, quoting from the Bible, ‘man shall not live by bread alone, but on every word that comes out of the mouth of God.’ When we refer to the Bible we will find help and guidance. Surely the period of Lent is a time we can spend more time reading the word of God.

Then Jesus was devil-tempted to throw Himself down from the top of the temple. As Jesus replied, we should not put God to the test. We need to trust our own lives to Jesus, leaning on His help and guidance. And finally the devil tempted Jesus to worship him. We too are tempted to follow other gods – money, power, acclamation and many more things. There is only the one God who we can serve with all our heart, mind and spirit.