I am pleased to introduce you to the lovely and talented Greg E Elliott!
An illustrator and graphic designer, Greg has served extensively in small group ministry for men. His book, New life in the Boarding House describes the transformational potential and relevance of the Bible. Available directly from email@example.com or Chapters/Indigo.
What are YOU giving up?
The next 40 weekdays present an opportunity to renew our spirits and draw closer to God, relieving ourselves of the accumulating spiritual baggage that weighs us down, stifles and spoils the enjoyment of the abundant life and relationship Jesus offers us.
Since the 4th century, this is the season of Lent — a spiritual journey utilizing prayer, fasting, self-denial and repentance to prepare us for the triumph of Easter Day, the basis of our hope as we live through the challenges in our personal lives and increasingly disturbing world events.
My weary spirit however never seemed to benefit from using popular suggestions like ‘giving up’ that favourite colourful word or that sticky toffee pudding dessert or spending less time on Facebook. I only discovered this practice of Lent to be beneficial once I started to question whether options like those fit the definition of self-denial and fasting or where the prayer and repentance parts were accommodated.
Questions like — Is it worth continuing to carry anger or jealousy for that difficult family member or co-worker or is that a weight God hopes you will ‘give up’? Maybe deciding to ‘give up’ your noon hour quiet time to share a pizza and talk to that scruffy kid sitting on the sidewalk is what God would suggest is a beneficial ‘giving up’ option? How about ‘giving up’ 5 minutes each day to pray for the men and women serving us as elected representatives in these complicated times instead of vegging in front of the TV? — produced options that indeed lightened the baggage count significantly.
As the tradition goes, Lent is a chance for self-reflection and honestly ‘giving up’ something from your heart to God, who knows ‘giving up’ a chocolate treat is not the same as forgiving that person who hurt you. Think about Jesus’ original ‘giving up’ example.
Greg R Elliott, author of the renovation devotional A New Life in the Boarding House Chapters/Indigo or directly – firstname.lastname@example.org