We often give up things for Lent but fasting is not just about going without chocolate. It’s about going without something you don’t need in order to focus on the things you do. You might fast from watching TV or going on your phone and spend more time with your family and friends. This this week about a change in your life you can make for the better and use this Lent to help you grow in faith.
When we fast, pray or help others we are deciding to follow Jesus. We are showing Him that He and His love is the most important thing in out lives…
When we dedicate our time and energy to the Lord, we are giving back to Him and telling him how great He is and thanking Him for all that he does!
Here are some of the spiritual benefits of fasting:
It’s a form of penance. Throughout the Old Testament, people covered themselves in ashes, took off their fine clothes, and fasted in order to express their repentance from sin. Fasting serves a similar purpose today.
It makes room for God. By emptying ourselves, even if just a little bit, we make room for God to enter our lives more fully. When fasting and abstinence are hard, we are moved to turn to God in prayer for help.
It strengthens the will. Fasting is a spiritual discipline; just as physical exercise makes our body stronger, fasting strengthens our will. Practicing self-denial in small things strengthens our will to resist sin in other areas of our lives.
It prepares us for mission. Fasting imitates the forty days that Jesus spent in the desert. Just as Jesus used this time to prepare for his public mission, fasting prepares us to continue his mission in the world.
It puts us in solidarity with the suffering Christ. Whatever small suffering we experience when we fast brings us closer to the suffering Christ—and all people who suffer from hunger, malnutrition, and abuse on a daily basis.
Another way we can do all of these thigs is by looking at our behaviour and making sure that we are doing everything we can to be close to God. Our activity this week is called an ‘examination of conscience’.
Play some quite music, and in you head read and answer these questions. Take your time, there are no right or wrong answers.
Responsibilities to God: Have I prayed every day? Have I prayed my morning prayers and night prayers? Have I prayed with my parents and family? Have I been moody and rebellious about praying and going to church on Sunday? Have I asked the Holy Spirit to help me whenever I have been tempted to sin?
Responsibilities to others: Have I been obedient and respectful to my parents? Have I lied or been deceitful to my parents or to others? Have I been arrogant, stubborn or rebellious? Have I talked back to parents, teachers or other adults or been grumpy? Have I been selfish toward my parents, brothers, and sisters, teachers, or my friends and schoolmates? Have I become angry at them? Have I hit anyone? Have I held grudges or not forgiven others? Have I treated other children with respect or have I made fun of them and called them names? Have I used bad language?
What can you do to improve your relationship with God and others?
Have a watch of this well known bible passage about Jesus in the desert.
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew.
Glory to you O Lord
4 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. 3 The tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4 But he answered, “It is written,
‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written,
‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’”
7 Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor; 9 and he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! for it is written,
‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.’”
11 Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him.
The Gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ
Did you know that this was not the only time that Jesus was tempted? Three years later Jesus was on the cross. People passed by him and shouted up to him, “Save yourself! If you are really the Son of God, you could come down from that cross!” Jesus certainly could have saved himself because He truly was (and is) God. Jesus didn’t deserve to die on the cross because He was absolutely perfect. Jesus faced temptation but did not sin.
Have you ever faced temptation?
God knows that we will be tempted by many things in our lives, and He has given us a powerful weapon to help us fight against it. Does anyone know what it is?
The Bible! God’s Word reminds us of what is true, even when Satan tries to tempt us to forget it.
Dear God thank you for Your Word and what a powerful weapon it is as we fight against temptation. Thank you for showing us how Jesus faced temptation but did not sin. We praise you for your amazing grace in our lives and for loving us so much that you would send your only Son to die for our sins. Amen.