Jagged Rankings: Fasting For Lent

Since it is Lent now it’s time for a special edition of the Jagged Rankings, in which I will rank the various things people “give up” for Lent, or in more pious terms, fast from. Of course, there are people who disdain the thought of fasting and then there are more legalistic types who demand it. Fast or don’t fast, it isn’t a law, yet don’t knock on spiritual disciplines and those that choose to take them on, spending more time in Prayer and God’s Word is good, actually. Anyways, here are the Jagged Rankings for Lenten fasting! Cheers! Or… Not, stay penitential. 

  1. Social Media

Fasting from social media has climbed the ranks in recent years, especially since the advent of Facebook, but even more so the Smart Phone. It’s true, Social Media is a true addiction today, and is one that can have long-term effects on us that we are only beginning to understand. As this awareness rises, the amount of people who choose to fast from social media for Lent follows suit. This is the top dog in our Jagged Rankings, becoming one of the most popular forms of fasting in our technological age. 

  1. Caffeine

Americans are caffeine addicts. It is a fact, on average Americans consume 1.5 cups of coffee a day. As one who is a caffeine addict, I can speak firsthand that if I don’t have my morning cup of coffee, I have physical results that make it less than enjoyable. Which lands caffeine as a noble thing to fast from. It is something that we often say we need to function. So, when we deprive ourselves of a self-proclaimed need, what better way to be forced to God’s Word where we receive what we truly need. A strong and difficult fast lands caffeine at number two. 

  1. Alcohol

As much as I love a good brew or a well-ratioed cocktail, alcohol has become a cultural staple for better or worse, and in a lot of instances, worse. Scripture doesn’t condemn alcohol, but it does condemn drunkenness, and often the line is toed, and other times completely disregarded. Alcohol is so a part of the culture that this makes for a rather difficult, yet worthwhile fast. It is certainly going to be felt to deny yourself this luxury and gift at the work happy hour, or the Friday night cocktail at home. Yet, it forces us to turn to the far greater gift of Christ and his forgiveness which lands this at number three. 

  1. Carbs

Another extremely common fast is to fast from carbs. Look, there is a trend to sort of use Lent to kickstart a diet plan, which for what its worth is noble as we ought to steward our bodies. This becomes a popular choice, especially for those that are looking ahead toward beach season, yet it is also one that can have a great impact on spiritual discipline. It is a reminder that we do not live on bread (or carbs) alone, but on every Word from the mouth of God. When it is done to push us more towards God’s Word, and not solely to look better in a swimsuit, this lands at a respectable number four. 

  1. Chocolate/Candy

For some reason, Chocolate always seems to be the thing so many people vow to give up this time of year, and for others candy altogether, yet chocolate more specifically is the specific sacrifice made. I don’t understand it, maybe it is the fear of too much sugar in the diet, or maybe some are truly addicted to chocolate. Yet, I think sacrificing something that is more of a luxury has an interesting spiritual bend to it that I kind of like. Giving up something that is unessential, yet something that is so enjoyed lands this one at number five. 

As always, this is solely for fun. These are mere opinions, and so there is no need for true anger. Regardless of your Lenten practice, spiritual disciplines are worthwhile endeavors. Fast or don’t, but let us remember our mortality, our sin, and more importantly Jesus, his work on the cross, and, his glorious resurrection.