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Give it up for Lent

Written by Tom Gage

February 18, 2015

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“Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return.” Genesis 3:19

So today is Ash Wednesday and that means the beginning of Lent, every evangelical’s favourite time of the year! But there are a lot of misconceptions about this very special season, I think all because of a little word that we’ve stopped loving: abstinence.

Lent is a time of preparation for Easter through fasting, prayer and almsgiving that lasts 6 weeks or 40 days. Christians observing Lent often choose something that they will give up. Though it may sound like a New Year’s resolution, it is vastly different. It is a time of reflection, a time of repentance. New Year’s resolutions are often about improving your self by avoiding things that are bad or unhealthy or by trying things that are good (or healthy). Lent is different. It’s about focusing on God and the sacrifice He made for us.

So with that in mind, here are 5 things you might consider giving up for Lent.

Media

Unless you decide to go live in a cave for 40 days, a complete media fast is impossible. But you can decide to control what you consume. Whether you decide to cut out video games, TV, music, social media or books, you are bound to free up some time to reflect, focus on God or serve others.

Food

In the Middle Ages, meat, eggs and dairy products were the big Lent-targets. Nowadays, it’s chocolate and sweets. I don’t eat that much chocolate to begin with, and you might not either. Think you can’t get by without your morning Starbucks? Can’t eat a meal that don’t include some form of dead animal? Looks like a big Lenten bull’s eye to me…

Shopping

How often do you buy stuff you don’t need? Books, clothes, electronics, gizmos, soda, snacks, board games, desserts… Can you go 40 days purchasing only survival essentials? If the answer might be “no,” think about X-ing it for a [liturgical] season.

Appearance

The world’s standards of beauty got you wrapped around their finger? Do you place a lot of value in how you look? Gym memberships, makeup, Calvin Klein shirts, shiny bling, Fitbit: throw it out the door.

Sleep

Get up one hour earlier. Go to bed an hour later. Use that extra awake time to pray, meditate, read your Bible or watch the sun rise and praise the Lord you’ve made it through another night. The point isn’t to make yourself tired for 40 days so sure you can nap in the day if you need it. But take a thing that is precious to you, untouchable even, and give it up.

In conclusion

Whatever you do, don’t do it for a Facebook status. Don’t do it to boast. And don’t do it out of a sense of guilt. Lent is Spring cleaning your heart in preparation of Easter so whether you do it or you don’t, do it with joy and to the glory of the Lord.


2 Responses to “Give it up for Lent”

  • Aldo says:

    Peter, Amen! and Amen!

  • Peter says:

    I think it is ok to do these things but remember easter/ lent is a made up thing by the church officials…in jesus time there was no easter date / lent etc. following jesus .. being a disciple is the most important thing.. spring cleaning is for every day .. every hour

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