Matthew 6:16-18 KJV
“16 Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; 18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.”
When we hear, “Baptists do this or Baptists don’t do that” the speaker is not considering the Baptist distinctive: Individual soul liberty. Individual soul liberty does not open the door for us to act as a “lone wolf” nor does not mean a member of a congregation need not submit to the leadership of their church. Soul liberty simply asserts that every believer has the right to act in accordance with his/her own conscience, and that no one can force anyone to believe or act against her/his theological viewpoint.
Taking the time during the season from so called Ash Wednesday to Resurrection Sunday to atone, seek forgiveness, deny self or step up good works is decided by the individual. Jesus spent forty wilderness days just prior to the crucifixion. Taking time to personally reflect on our Christian journey can prove to be fortifying, empowering and enlightening. I say go for it. But remember as Jesus said, some things we need to keep to ourselves.
JC Thomas, MS, MA Pastor