Today is Ash Wednesday, and we all know what that means…MARCH MADNESS IS RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER!!!!
I realized that I get thoroughly consumed with college basketball, especially during tournament time. I’ll make like 5-10 brackets, ranging from the way I hope a bracket would turn out, to the way I think the bracket will turn out, to interesting match-ups based on coaching history, etc. And especially the first days of the tournament, I basically have no life outside of the tournament. I’ll skip any class that doesn’t take attendance or any meeting that isn’t necessarily mandatory. And when I do leave the apartment, I leave during a commercial break with the TV on, so that as soon as I walk back into the apartment, I’ll pick up right away. It’s fun, but sad at the same time, I think.
The Ash Wednesday reminds me the madness is because 2 of the past 3 years I’ve restricted myself from things pertaining to the tournament for lent. 2 years ago, I only allowed myself to watch at most 1 hour of a TV a day, which meant I’d have to be very careful with what game I watch because sometimes there were like 8 games on in one day. Plus, some games would go into overtime, and I’d have to stop watching because it’d run longer than 1 hour (those were sad times). Last year, I fasted from 1 meal a day, which wasn’t too difficult for me physically (food is not a weak spot for me). This year, I’m fasting from ESPN.com and cbssportsline.com, so I won’t be able to make any online brackets, nor check/follow scores and stories at all. I “waste” so much of my day browsing articles and re-living games through other people’s perspective. So this should be an interesting time for me.
Many people give up different things during the lenten season. For 40 days, we choose to sacrifice things in our lives that we deem as very important for us to have…but why? To prove we can? To show we have the will power? Please. That seems so pointless. People give up AIM, meat, chocolate, TV, anything that they see themselves spending insanely amounts of time doing. But there are two parts to it. The fast is important, but without a feast, we simply turn into present day Pharisees (Luke 18…Pharisee fasted twice a day, but Jesus said he wasn’t justified before God because he didn’t have the right heart behind his actions).
The purpose of the fasting is to abstain from certain things that we cling to in this world, and to feast on the Lord…use the time to grow closer to Christ. Whenever we feel a desire for the object we are fasting from, we should be using that time to pray and read the Word. When all of our attention is focused on one desire, we need to then fill that void with Jesus, and have all of our focus on Him. You’ll be amazed at what God will teach you. This isn’t simply a 40-day fast until Easter, but a 40-day feast. Get filled.
[I’m still not sure how strongly I am against the feasting from the the objects we are fasting from before and after the 40 days. The feast beforehand (i.e. Fat Tuesday) is simply like a last minute dive into a sinful nature…showing our true desire is for the things we are going to abstain from, and not for the Lord. And after Easter, by feasting again on what we fasted from, we are basically showing that through the 40-days, we were not changed in desiring more of God, but that our desire for what we fasted from simply grew stronger. But we are humans, who have an earthly desire because of our human nature. Just need to fight to redeem it.]