During high school, I loved the church season of Lent (the time leading up to Easter). As a way to remember Jesus’ sacrifice for us, most of my Catholic girlfriends would “give up” eating dessert, which meant I generally got extras. Back then, my hips could handle the added sugar.
Though I enjoyed the extra sweets, I thought my friends’ practice of giving something up for Lent was silly. It seemed to stem from believing they had to do something to earn God’s favor. I knew salvation was a gift of God’s grace, and no matter how many desserts they gave up, God would not love them more than he already did.
Reflecting on my friends’ Lenten practice, I now sometimes ponder, “What would I be willing to give up for God?” Not to earn his favor but because I love him. Giving something up implies making a sacrifice, which is defined as “an act of offering something precious.” Would I be willing to give up something that is truly precious to me for God? I don’t know about you, but I can’t even consistently give up a few hours of TV watching to spend more time with him.
What a relief God is not like me! He was willing to give up something precious. He “did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all” (Romans 8:32). God sacrificed his holy, precious Son because we are also precious to him.