Several years ago, I was having a conversation with a young man about what he was giving up for Lent. I had a hard time expressing my emotions when I heard his statement that he had given up swearing for Lent. He seemed quite proud of that. I was at a loss for what to say.
What do you give up for Lent? A better question might be: Is giving up things the best way to honor God during Lent? And, since we are asking questions about Lent, is Lent a biblical concept?
Lent is a period celebrated in the Christian church that begins with Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter. It consists of forty days (not including Sundays). The Bible does not require Christians to practice Lent. However, Lent is based on biblical principles. During Lent we walk with Christ to the cross and His resurrection. We focus on the themes of repentance and renewal.
I think of Lent as a great opportunity to go deeper in my life with God. The forty days seems just right. It is long enough to be meaningful and short enough to not be never-ending. It allows me to focus more on my relationship with God. It helps me to ask that question, “What is the more I can do in my relationship with Him?”
During Lent I choose to do things that are not about making me miserable, but things that will help me in some small way to deny myself and take up the cross. I give up things and I add things. Whatever will help me draw closer to Jesus.
So, what am I giving up this Lent, other than swearing? I am cutting way back on my media consumption so that I can spend more time with God.
How about you? What are you doing for Lent?
Photo by Gene Han.