Let me start this post by saying that if you participate in Lent I am in no way criticizing you, but that I am simply sharing my views on why I have personally decided not to participate in Lent.
A few weeks ago I started seeing things about Lent, but I didn’t know much about it. So I put my history degree to work & started researching! Of course the first thing to do is find definitions on which to base your understanding, so here are two that I found very clear cut.
When I googled the definition of Lent this is the first thing that came up.
the period preceding Easter that in the Christian Church is devoted to fasting, abstinence, and penitence in commemoration of Christ’s fasting in the wilderness. In the Western Church it runs from Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday and so includes forty weekdays.
Then I checked the Webster dictionary:
a period of 40 days before Easter during which many Christians do not eat certain foods or do certain pleasurable activities as a way of remembering the suffering of Jesus Christ
I also came across an article on Relevant Magazine’s website entitled What Christians Get Wrong About Lent, I must admit even though I take a different stance I think the title could apply to this post too. So here are the three reasons Why I Do Not Participate in Lent.
1. Not Scriptural
As a Christian, I find that it is important that all of my life decisions & actions should be centered around Christ & His teachings. Unfortunately, the history of Lent shows us that its creation was not scriptural. While the church is a wonderful way for a community of believers to come together & fellowship, we must test for ourselves the beliefs of our religion against the inspired words of God (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
Just because it feels right or sounds right, or because a group of like-minded religious men proclaims it, does not mean it is spiritually or biblically sound. We must test all things, even those from the church, to know what is good (1 Thessalonians 5:21). Traditions have come and gone from both the Catholic and Protestant church alike. But many of these traditions are not biblically based and are therefore not appropriate measurements of an individuals spirituality, holiness, and righteousness.
There are examples sprinkled throughout the Bible from Job to Daniel, to the Cross that show individuals whose faith, convictions, & lifestyles were contrary to the religious leaders of their time. By testing everything against God’s word we will find light & direction for our lives (Psalm 119:105).
Although not following the religious crowd can feel intimidating & a bit scary, if we are abiding by God’s word we have nothing to fear. “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
2. 40 Days vs. A Daily Choice
While the idea of giving something up & refocusing your life on Christ for 40 days is a nice idea, as a follower of Christ I want my heart to always be Christ-centered. When I wake up each morning I want to die to self & live for Christ, in both my heart & actions.
I don’t want to celebrate Christ’s life during just a few days of the year. I pray that my heart, mind, & soul will reflect Christ’s & that I will learn more about Him & to be more like Him on a daily basis. I pray that I will not become a dam, but that there will always be rivers of living water flowing from my heart (John 7:38).
Also, giving up something for 40 days leaves the impression that Christianity is restricting & means making sacrifices for religion. When in reality Christianity is freedom & as a Christian I find freedom in my faith in God.
As a Christian I believe that it is important that we should anticipate “the full impact of Easter for the time we’re in now and when Christ returns” (Relevant) on a daily basis, not just 40 days before Easter. The ideals of reflecting upon His sacrifice & resurrection, while becoming more Christ-like is Biblical, but it wasn’t meant for ~1/9 of the year, but as a daily commitment to God as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1-2).
Therefore, Lent is neither needed nor necessary when living a Christ-centered life.
3. The Perfect Sacrifice
By participating in Lent we are essentially saying that Christ’s sacrifice – His time on earth, 40 days in the wilderness, & death on the cross – were not enough. It is a way for us to take our salvation into our own hands when the wonderful truth is that He has Himself become the perfect sacrifice in our place (Hebrews 1:1-4).
“But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage? You observe days and months and seasons and years. I am afraid for you, lest I have labored for you in vain.” Galatians 4:9-11
God came to this earth to save us from sin & free us from the ritualistic ways of religion. When we follow His word we are set free from the rituals of religions & find true freedom in Him (John 8:31-32).
This Easter, like every day, I will pray to be more Christ-like in all things & praise Him for all that He has done for me.
How do you celebrate Easter?
I’d love to hear from you!
Feel free to comment below, email me, or tweet me on Twitter.
With love, Giustina
in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice,
Romans 12:1 NIV
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