Lent Reflection: No to food and Yes to God

Jesus says that to follow him, we must daily deny ourselves or say no to the things we want. On the contrary, everything in our world persuades us to satisfy our wants and deny God. However, Lent is the perfect time to begin the practice of following Jesus by saying no to the things we want. Applying this practice to a specific area in a short period of time will help us master the art of saying no to self and yes to God on a daily basis.

Saying no to myself isn’t easy but one of the things I’m saying no to this Lenten season is sweets. Candy, ice cream, my favorite Starbucks and all things sugar. It’s hard for me to not indulge in these delicacies, yet following Jesus means I must say no to what I want. I can easily give in to my cravings and enjoy something sweet even though I know my palate will not be satisfied for long. My tummy will not be satisfied with just one taste. No amount of will power can convince me that I’ve had enough of the sweets I love. I will indulge in sweets over and over because another craving will come around too soon. The enjoyment is temporary and will not last. It would be great if I could eat what I like and not want it anymore but, my body doesn’t work this way. On the contrary, the more sweets I eat, the more I want! What am I to do?

 Practicing self-control

As a follower of Christ, God has sent his Spirit to live inside of me. Because he lives in me, I must continually develop the fruit of the Spirit or the characteristics of Christ in my life. One of these traits is self-control. By saying no to sweets, I’m practicing self-control and telling God that I want to honor him more than I want my yummy treats. Without self-control, I will stay in this vicious cycle of giving in to wants that does not satisfy or last.

From the Bible we see Jesus displaying this God-given self-control when he resisted Satan’s temptation to turn stones into bread after his 40 days and nights of fasting. Jesus knew that cravings for food is temporary and does not satisfy, so he feasted on the Word of God and denied his wants in order to defeat his tempter.

In following Jesus, I too must give up the cravings I want and crave spiritual foods which satisfies and lasts. I must practice self-control by dedicating time to crave continual conversations with God and to feast on the words that he wrote to me in the Bible. I do this until I make it a habit of craving him more than craving my favorite sweets. Here’s the enticing truth about spiritual food. The more spiritual food I consume, the more I am willing to give up what I want and the more I crave to do the works of God. This work is to love and serve others for Jesus. And unlike the sweets I crave that does not satisfy or last, the works I do as a follower of Jesus truly satisfies and will last forever.

The Christian Post