Written by Cale Baker
This Lenten Season, Jesus is using Reese’s Cups to teach me about my Christian identity. Or, the lack of Reese’s Cups, I should say. As I began Lent, I really didn’t know what to give up, so I thought about what I indulged in, and I realized that I was eating too much candy at work. A few of my coworkers have large bags of candy at their desks, and I was taking trips around the office with Reese’s in my hands just a little too often. It felt like a small vice, so I thought I’d make “no sweets” a Lenten fast.
Before moving into how Jesus is using Reese’s to teach me about my identity, I’ll give a little bit of backstory. I grew up in church where week in and week out I learned about the love of God, the grace of Jesus, the wrath of the Father, the omnipresence of the Spirit. I learned about how I’m a son of God, a friend of Jesus, and how the Holy Spirit indwells my soul. I really liked hearing these truths, but since I was brought up in the Christian faith, these Christian realities and these Christian identity markers were all I knew. I heard these identity markers when I was six and when I was sixteen, and while I changed over those years, I never really learned how these truths actually changed anything about my life. In other words, these truths were something I had concluded were true of me, but I never embodied these truths into a lived identity.
Since discovering this lack of embodied belief, I’ve learned to let Jesus take these concluded truths and turn them into beliefs. Funny enough, Jesus is using Reese’s Cups to aid in this process. Though eating Reese’s at work was just a small vice, it had become enough of a habit that when I started Lent on Ash Wednesday, I still got up from my desk on Thursday to go grab a Reese’s from my coworker’s desk. I was rounding the door out of my little office when I remembered it was Lent. Imagine how foolish I felt coming back to my desk empty handed. Over the past week and a half, I’ve still had urges to get up at work, go over to my coworker’s desk, and get some candy. We all munch on candy throughout the day, so I’ve even had offers from others. In fact, I’ve had coworkers literally toss Reese’s to me in the past week, knowing that I’d be ready to eat it.
In those moments, I’ve consciously had to remind myself, “No, I’m not going to eat this because it’s Lent,” which leads to the thought, “I’m participating in Lent because I’m a Christian.” Sometimes, that “I’m a Christian” thought has led to “Man, but I really want a Reese’s right now,” or “Yeah, I’m a Christian, so God’s not gonna be mad at me if I just have one.” At other times, though, this constant reminder of “I’m a Christian” has been a simple trigger that Jesus has used to help aid in the process of embodying the truths that surround my Christian identity. In those “I’m a Christian” moments, I can tie my immediate obedience to my identity. In other words, the truth about my Christian identity has embodied action that it can attach itself to. “I’m a Christian, so God is my Father.” “I’m a Christian, so Jesus is my friend.” “I’m a Christian, so the Spirit indwells within me.”
I never thought Jesus would use Reese’s Cups to help me embody truths I’ve heard my whole life, but here we are. So, as we meditate in this Lenten season together, how is Jesus using our fasts to teach us about our Christian identity? Maybe He’s being more creative than we think.