Let me share with you what I’ve learned along the way.
Lent is a forty day season of preparation before Easter. However, if you look at your calendar, you’ll realize it’s actually forty-six days. The forty days represent the forty days that Jesus fasted in the desert and resisted Satan’s temptations. The six extra days are the six Sundays between Ash Wednesday and Easter. According to this tradition, Sunday is the Lord’s day and a day of celebration, not fasting.
Fasting for Lent is not required anywhere in scripture.
The Lenten season is a time for long-standing Christians to review their lives and renew their commitment to Jesus Christ.
Lent is a time for backsliders to be restored to their faith.
Lent is a time for serious self-examination and intensive prayer.
Please, remember these are things I’ve learned through study and research. My church does not follow this tradition, and I don’t think they should have to. Fasting for Lent is very personal. I do not fast in the usual sense of the word, by the way. I simply give up something difficult. I’ve given up foods and I’ve given up habits during Lent. To some people, my “sacrifices” would seem petty, but to me they were very important. Every year, I struggled with my fast, and every year, I found myself going to my Bible and my Jesus for strength. My “sacrifices” are nothing compared to Jesus’ but my temptations still feel as strong to me as those He faced in that desert. How humbling to see my fleshy side staring me in the eye and laughing at my weakness over such trivial things. But, oh, how amazing to feel the Lord wrap around me in spite of my weakness over such trivial things.
Will I continue following the Lenten tradition in my very private way? Probably. I’ve learned a lot about myself and about God. And, having set beginning and ending dates sure makes things easier for me! I would also recommend a forty-day fast of some sort to anyone brave enough to put themselves and their relationship with God under a microscope. Just remember, it has to be something hard. Something you love eating or something you love doing. Calling off of work for forty days probably is not a good idea, but calling the cable company and putting your television “on vacation” for forty days probably is. How about all junk food? And I do mean ALL. That means no chips, no cookies, no ice cream, no fast food, etc. Sounds easy now, but wait until you’re out buying groceries, and you have to buy for your family what you’ve given up. Oh, and keep it just between you and God. No one else needs to know.
Thank you for stopping by. I hope I’ve shared enough about Lent so that even if you don’t follow it, you understand a little more why some people do. It really isn’t an empty tradition without meaning. Just a very personal one that’s been made way too public. I encourage you to read Luke 4 and do a little research on your own. You might be surprised at what you find.
Grace and peace be yours in abundance,