Category Archives: Give It Up Lenten Study

Easter isn’t the End

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Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

-James 4:7

Think it through

We’re coming to the end of our Lenten series. Easter is just days away. I’m looking forward to church. I’m looking forward to watching my kids find Easter baskets full of spring and summer treats. I’m looking forward to celebrating with my extended family.

And let’s face it, I’m looking forward to a Cadbury egg.

I’ve done this giving up chocolate thing before, and I know that first taste of chocolate will be almost too sweet, almost too good. It will be delightful, and I’ll be so thankful in that moment—He is Risen that we might have abundant and eternal life!

But soon the taste of chocolate will be, though still wonderful, commonplace. A part of my average day. Or worse, again, a temptation leading me further away from God instead of closer to Him.

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So It’s Getting Tougher

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“He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.”

-Isaiah 40:29

Think it through

I don’t know about you, but this is when it starts to get really hard for me. Easter is still looking pretty far away… but all that Easter candy is staring me in the face whenever I enter a store. I’m not complaining—still smiling!—but it’s a fact that I’m getting tired of giving up chocolate.

This is the time to take a good look at how good we’re really doing with this Lenten fast. Truth always clears out spiritual clutter that’s rooted in feelings!

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Missing Out on Butterscotch

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If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.

-Matthew 10:39

Think it through

One Lenten day in 2008 I was at the mall with my kids (only two back then!), ready to redeem my coupon for a free Cheryl’s cookie. (The Library Summer Reading Club coupon sheet comes through again!)

Now normally I’d walk into a place like Cheryl’s and make a beeline for the chocolate. I mean, what’s the point of a cookie that doesn’t even include chocolate chips? And let’s see if we can find one that has chocolate batter as well…

But it was Lent, I’d given up chocolate, and I’d resigned myself to not getting a cookie at all. I’d get the free one and let the kids split it between them, case closed.

Then I spied something called a “Scotchie.”

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Lean on Him

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Let your steadfast love comfort me according to your promise to your servant.

–Psalm 119:76

Think it through

I have a hard time staying warm. When I was a child, my dad jokingly referred to me as “snake lady.” (Perhaps this is part of why snakes and I are not friends.) Throw in a thyroid issue that manifested after our third baby was born, and now my hands and feet get so cold they start to turn colors. Even in the summer I shake with chills in air-conditioned areas. Trying to sleep is the worst, because my body shakes so much that I keep myself awake!

For years I’ve sought nighttime comfort in different ways.

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There’s No Substitute

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Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.

-I Corinthians 6:19-20

Think it through

As I decided to give something up for Lent, I struggled a bit mentally. Starting with, There’s nothing wrong with a little chocolate. Ending with, I guess I can just have some Reece’s pieces instead. 

Well, now. The Bible says that we should glorify God with our bodies. How glorifying am I being if I switch from sneaking chocolate all day to eating other equally bad items?

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What’s a Little Chocolate?

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And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.

-Matthew 6:16

Think it through

I feel like I should tell you that it’s not like me to be all, “Look at me, I’m giving up chocolate for Lent” on a blog. Or anywhere… at least I hope not! Though I usually tell my family what I’m giving up, I try not to talk about it a lot.

Let’s say that I’m going to an acquaintance’s house for dinner and she serves a beautiful chocolate dessert. There are two ways to go about not eating it. One way is to say, “Oh, it looks so good and I’d love to have it but I can’t, I gave it up for Lent…” with a put-upon sigh. Another way is to smile and say, “Oh, no thanks,” possibly adding an “I’m just stuffed” (only if I am, which I probably would be).

Which one would be the hypocrite way—the way that I would have received my attention?

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Giving It Up

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And Jesus said to them, “Can you make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.”

–Luke 5:34-35

Think it through

Ash Wednesday is two days away, so it’s time to think about what I want to give up until Easter Sunday. My sweet momma gives up all sweets (like, even the jam on her toast, Friends). I’ve never been quite that brave!

If you haven’t heard of this practice, it’s basically a modified fast for Lent. Many people stop eating a particular kind of food, perhaps on particular days. Others add an activity, like participating in a Bible study (thus surrendering time).

Lots of people don’t give up anything at all, and if that’s you, I’m in no way calling you out. But I am encouraging you to join me for a Lenton Bible Study Series on Giving It Up… surrendering our hearts to God through the surrendering of something tangible.

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