In a few short days we will officially be in the season of Lent! So many things come along with the season of Lent. It seems to be the busiest six weeks in the Spring. We have church services every Wednesday, still have services on Sundays, not to mention State B’s that happen which are a big deal to many in this area. On top of all of that, you
In a few short days we will officially be in the season of Lent! So many things come along with the season of Lent. It seems to be the busiest six weeks in the Spring. We have church services every Wednesday, still have services on Sundays, not to mention State B’s that happen which are a big deal to many in this area. On top of all of that, you have undoubtedly heard that you are supposed to give something up for the 40 days of Lent.
But where does this come from? Why is this practiced? Should you give something up? Scripturally, this is based on the 40 days that Jesus spent fasting in the desert being tempted by Satan. It is to Easter as Advent is to Christmas. Aside from that event, some claim that we are to give something up in order to gain some perspective and feel at least a little bit of the pain that Jesus felt and went through. Another reason that comes up when discussing the practice of giving up something for Lent is the idea of getting closer to God and doing penance.
There is a problem with many of these ideas though. Yes, Jesus did endure 40 days in the desert being tempted by the devil, but as it is written in Matthew, “… He took our sicknesses and removed our diseases.” (8:17b). Christ did not come to this world, be placed under the laws of this earth so that we could copy them 2,000 years later. In fact the moment you choose to give something up to be closer to God, to feel more holy, you begin to go deeper into the sin that Jesus came to save you from. The moment you think your action, your decision, has anything to do with God’s love for you, you have broken the First Commandment. According to your logic, you now have a role in increasing your favor with God, thus attempting to have a hand in your own salvation… that is exactly what Christ died on the cross for. He died for your sin of not trusting that His promise is for you entirely. He died so that all who believe in Him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). And this happened once and for all.
Maybe you do get some perspective from abstaining from a desired object/action. Maybe Lent is just a good 40 day period for you to try and break bad habits or form better new habits. If that is the case, and this is a motivational period for you, by all means, do as you please!
Now, hear these words. (And if you have someone to read these words aloud to you, I encourage you to do so): “You are my child. With you I am well-pleased. God has chosen you as His own. He is a faithful God, who keeps his promise…” (Deut. 7:9).
Prayer: God, be with me in these 40 days as you always have been and always will be. I pray that you stay true to the promise that you have given me. Help me to hear your Word and trust in your voice every day of my life. Amen.