“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”
Philippians 4:8-9 NIV
In certain church traditions there is a practice centered around what one might give up for the season of Lent. Originally, this practice grew out of the focus on spiritual growth and “cleaning up” your daily habits during this season. However, as with a lot of spiritual practices in the life of the church, many people saw the action as the end and not the means toward spiritual growth. That is, if I give up chocolate during Lent, I’ll gain some brownie points (pun intended) with God. Even more spiritual practices like fasting can become simply another item to check off on a spiritual to- do list.
Based upon this passage from Philippians, I would like to suggest that we add something for Lent. Now, this is to say that giving up something for Lent is altogether bad. In fact, by combining the two, I believe that you can really be blessed. Add something to take the place of what you are giving up. So, if you are fasting on Fridays, take the time to focus on prayer, Bible reading, acts of kindness, etc. If you are trying to give up negativity, take the advice from Paul and focus on things that are Godly and see how adding these characteristics to your daily thoughts and deeds can make a big difference this season and beyond.
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