As we observe Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the season of Lent, we use ashes as a symbol to remind of our mortality and our need for repentance and spiritual renewal. But today, I want to invite you to reflect on how you can transform your physical and spiritual health during Lent. Keep in mind that both are important and deeply interconnected.
Giving up something for Lent is a form of fasting, which has been a spiritual practice since ancient times. It is a way for Christians to engage in spiritual discipline and self-denial to grow closer to God. During Lent, Christians are called to fast, repent, and prepare to celebrate the joy and hope of Easter.
Fasting involves voluntarily abstaining from food, drink, or other pleasures for a period of time. It is a way of denying ourselves, of letting go of our attachment to material things, and of focusing our attention on God.
Even now—this is the Lord’s declaration—turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, weeping, and mourning. (Joel 2:12 HCSB)
The specific thing that a Christian gives up for Lent is often a personal choice, and it can be anything from food or drink to social media or other forms of entertainment. The idea is to choose something that is meaningful and challenging, and to use the experience of self-denial to grow in faith and become more aware of one’s dependence on God.
So, how can you transform your physical and spiritual health during Lent? I believe there are three key ways.
- First, we can use fasting as a way of detoxifying our bodies. By abstaining from certain foods or drinks, we can give our bodies a break from the toxins and chemicals that we often consume. This can help to improve our digestion, boost our energy levels, and promote overall health and well-being.
- Second, we can use fasting as a way of refocusing our attention on God. When we fast, we are forced to confront our own weakness and dependence on God. We are reminded that we are not in control, and that we need God’s help and guidance in all areas of our lives.
- Third, we can use fasting as a way of building self-discipline and self-control. By denying ourselves certain pleasures or comforts, we can cultivate greater strength and resilience in the face of temptation and adversity. This can help us to break free from unhealthy habits and addictions, and to develop greater resilience in all areas of our lives.
Fasting from food is not easy and is not for everyone. I recommend working with a healthcare professional to determine if it’s safe for you and the best way to do it. It’s important to note that without a purpose, it’s not a spiritual practice. It’s just going hungry.
So, my dear friend, I pray that you will embrace the practice of fasting as a way of transforming your physical and spiritual health during Lent. I pray that it might detoxify your body, refocus your attention on God, and help you cultivate greater self-discipline and self-control. And may God bless and guide you on this journey.