But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against things like this. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the self with its passions and its desires. If we live by the Spirit, let’s follow the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-25)
When we think of the Lenten season, it is common to think of fasting and discipline. But joy? Where does joy fit into Lent?
Two of the common traditions of Lent is to give something up and to take something on. Many give something up by fasting from chocolate, sugar, coffee, or another food item or activity that is enjoyable. Some choose to take something on by committing to do good, opening their home to others, or offering to do a certain chore in the family.
In the early Christian church, the act of fasting was meant to encourage a remembrance that we are spiritual, not just material beings. By giving something material up, one’s time and money would be saved and be given as alms to the poor.
By giving, we experience more freedom and joy. When I hold tightly to my material life out of fear, I am bound to those things, I become hurried, living above means and place. When I let go and trust God’s faithfulness and goodness, I enter into the joy of kingdom living, I begin to live within means and place — creating more, not less — space, time, and resources to share as God guides me.
As we enter into these 40 days of Lent together, may our lives become opened more to God and others as we experience the true meaning and joy of the season.
In Freedom and Joy,