I thought about writing about Lent again – and then I found what I wrote two years ago – and I still echo every word…
I grew up Catholic . . . left that church when I was 16 and started attending the Southern Baptist church across town. I had conscientious objections to what they [the church] was teaching regarding the sacrament of the lord’s supper, and confession, and found those teachings contrary to what I read and believe that Scripture teaches.
Having said that – i would, almost every year, participate in the season of Lent by “giving up something” for the 40 day-season.
Lent – started in the early church (3rd or 4th century) was a common practice up to the protestant reformation. It’s now still a common practice in the Roman Catholic church – and there are a few protestant denominations that practice.
I quit “giving something up” for lent when I switched churches at 16, but last year, felt compelled to fast from something for the season – and it wasn’t out of guilt, or obligation, but more out of a sense of seeking God during those 40 days, and setting out to intentionally abstain from something that I would normally partake in. My prayer – that through ‘wanting’ that which i normally get, i’d have a greater sense of my need for repentance, and a greater heart of thanksgiving for God’s grace in my life.
So my encouragement:
maybe you’re desperately seeking God to show up – in your marriage, your kids, your job, your health. maybe you’ve strayed so far that you’ve forgotten that the God of the universe pursues you. My encouragement would be to “give something up” for this brief season – not because Jesus will love you any more than He already does . . . but perhaps as you desire the earthly things, your prayer can be that He’d set your mind on things above . . . Spend a season of a bit of sacrifice with the prayer that God would specifically show up in where you’re longing to see Him work . . .