To lent or not to lent?

Lent. That time of the year where you give stuff up or take something up for 40 days and then eat loads of chocolate shaped eggs…. There are lots of mixed opinions about this, some people give up things up and it gives them a sense of knowing Jesus and some people don’t give things up and it gives them a sense of grace. Here are some thoughts on this from other people:

Anita says: “But this year, a friend suggested to me that I practice Lent traditionally because there is something special about the 40 day preparation in Lent for the glory of God to be revealed. To see his incomparably great power for us who believe which is like the working of his mighty strength when he resurrected Jesus.”

I enjoyed her post on why she is doing lent this year!

But on a different note:

Dan Hames says: “I’ve never given up anything for Lent in my whole life. Call it a deep and long-held tradition. Here’s why.

I am already a big enough legalist as it is. I don’t need it suggested to me that I might be able to deal with my sin by my own discipline, hard work, and spiritual focus. Unfortunately I already think that enough! I don’t need 40 days to prove to myself that my efforts at self-justification, self-cleansing, and self-control are beyond useless. The gospel has already shown me that.”

So very different views! But both equally free in Grace to do either. I read a brilliant tweet from Kath Cunnigham:

“Ah Lent, that time when half my feed is full of people giving up stuff and the other half being smug about how it’s all about grace”

How true! It made me chuckle a bit. We are a bit like that aren’t we?

Yet in both cases it’s all about our heart attitudes and what we are focused on. My stance on this is do what ever you want, give up things, don’t give up things but don’t be proud or smug, or do it out of guilt or forget the main focus – which is Christ. Our theology must start, run through and end with Him.

So, if Christ is our center then Anita she can enjoy Christ through her fasting and also through her praying over these 40 days… and equally Dan he can enjoy what Christ has done for him and that he doesn’t need to do hard work to prove anything to God.

The Gospel is good news isn’t it? We don’t do lent to prove anything to God and equally we don’t not do lent to prove anything to God. (see how easy we can be legalistic on both accounts?) We can choose to do it or not do it in order to enjoy him more. Freedom in Christ is awesome. Enjoy Lent!

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3 thoughts on “To lent or not to lent?

  1. Hey Connie,
    I can see your point however we add many things that arn’t mentioned in the bible, some of which are cultural. (Just from living in Peru I have noticed how many things in British churches are cultural!) Therefore I am not sure we could say that if its not mentioned in the bible then its wrong or we cant use it. As Emma mentioned above neither circumcision nor uncircumcision – it is all about the heart!!

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