1. What is Lent?
2. Should Christians Celebrate Lent?
3. Should I Give Something Up for Lent?
4. What is Ash Wednesday?
5. What is Maundy Thursday?
6. What is Good Friday?
7. What is Easter?
Many people observe the tradition of “giving up something” for Lent. Is this something that we should practice as Christians, and if so how should we go about it? I must confess that this is not something that we practice in our own home. However, I believe it can be a good thing when done with the proper attitude and a right understanding of the Scriptures.
What is the right attitude in giving up something for Lent? First of all, we should do so in a spirit of love and humility before Christ. It is not a religious requirement, but rather, like fasting, it is something that we do voluntarily in response to God. Also, we should not think that this is a way to gain acceptance before God. Scripture is clear that we are accepted before God by faith in Jesus Christ alone, without any added works of our own. (Romans 4:5)
So what should you give up for Lent? It has been said that the only thing some people give up for Lent are their New Year’s resolutions! If you do decide to give something up for Lent, here are a few guidelines.
- Don’t make it something light or frivolous, something you would never miss anyway. It is an offering to the Lord, and you should consider it sacred. It is a recognition of the price Jesus paid for you. Don’t make a mockery of it. On the other hand:
- Don’t make it something so heavy or burdensome that you cannot follow through on it (food, water, air, etc.). The Bible encourages us to consider our vows carefully before making them. It is better not to vow at all than to make a vow and break it. (Ecclesiastes 5:4-5) Some of us would do better to apportion our sacrifice throughout the Lenten period rather than try to make it through the whole season. You might find some personal fast days between you and the Lord scattered throughout the Lenten season to be very meaningful in your spiritual life.
- Don’t give up something sinful for Lent. It’s not that you shouldn’t give up sin, but repentance is not seasonal. Sin must be rejected daily, all the time, not just given up for a season. Lenten offerings, like fasting, should be the temporary yielding of something good out of love for God.
- Don’t give up something thinking that somehow God will view you as more righteous or acceptable in his sight because of your sacrifice. If you are a believer, you can never be more accepted by God than you already are in Jesus Christ. Always remember, it is Christ’s sacrifice that makes you righteous in God’s eyes, not yours. “To obey is better than sacrifice.” (1 Samuel 15:22) God wants your heartfelt obedience far more than any sacrifice you may make for him. (Mark 12:32-33)
In the long run, perhaps we should think more along the lines of giving things up for the Lord rather than for Lent. What do you think?
Related post: Giving Up Church for Lent