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This Lenten Season

The forty days preceding Easter mark the beginning of Lenten season and denote the days prior the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  As customary with the Christian faith, many followers of Christ choose to give up a particular habit or favorite beverage or food to try to emulate the forty days Jesus spent in the desert resisting the temptation of the devil.  Matthew 4 details Jesus’ battle against temptation as he forcibly ignores the devil and is not deterred from his relationship with God.  Although Satan attempts to tempt Jesus through the satisfaction of full stomach and power as well as testing God, Jesus resists the wiles of the Devil and sends him away.
            When Lent was merely a week away, I began to seriously think about what I wanted to give up for Lent.  In previous years, my attempts to give up chocolate and sweet tea had been sorely unsuccessful.  Although I have always observed Lent, I have only one gleaming spot on my record in which I successfully went without the item I desired the most:  my freshman year of high school where I abstained from drinking soda, primarily Cheerwine, for the entire forty days. Although most people believe that it’s okay to have whatever they gave up on each Sunday during Lent, I feel like I’m cheating and would rather go without it for the entire forty days… which, most likely, contributes to my lack of self-control during the Lenten season.  However, this Lenten season’s been different. I decided to, once again, try to avoid drinking sweet tea and primarily stick to drinking water:  a healthier choice all-around.  I can proudly say that with less than a week and a half left before Easter, I have yet to take a single sip of the delicious brewed beverage.
            And while I have been successful thus far and kept my pact to avoid sweet tea, others I know have not been quite so successful. For instance, Catherine, a freshman at Campbell University, vowed to quit drinking soft drinks, yet she found herself taking a sip of a carbonated beverage days after Lent began when she found no other option at a weekend picnic.  “Lent was difficult to keep because I had to give up something I enjoyed on a regular basis.  Sometimes I just get a need for caffeine that only soda can quench.  I’m still living without soda and I hope to last from now until Easter.”  Courtney, a Campbell junior, tried to give up Facebook; however, each Sunday she found numerous notifications, messages, and events she missed because she had detached herself from the social networking site.   While observing Lent represents a religious aspect in one’s daily life, the convenience of grabbing of a soda instead of finding an alternative beverage or communicating in different ways can easily place one’s good intentions on the backburner.
           As the Lenten season ends, however, I have found that my yearning for sweet tea has slowly subsided, as well the temptation to take a sip of my favorite beverage.  As Jesus told Satan in Matthew 4:4, “One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”  The pangs of one’s temptation will eventually subside as one reaches a closer relationship with Christ as the Lenten season progresses.  At the end of the Lenten season, Jesus rises after making the ultimate sacrifice and sealing a lasting relationship between us, His children, and himself.  The Lenten season is not meant to make one feel comfortable with one’s faith; its intention is to confirm that one will struggle with temptations on a daily basis, yet one’s struggles can bring one closer to Christ.  The inconsequential matters with which we concern ourselves ultimately mean nothing in the grand scheme of things
 
“For me, living is Christ and dying is gain.” –Philippians 1:21

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