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Why You Should Celebrate Lent This Year

February 16, 2015 3 Comments

LentI am sure that many either don’t give Lent a thought or think of it as some form of archaic religious legalism. However, setting our selves apart to celebrate Lent is important.

What is Lent?

This year [2016] Lent begins on Wednesday (Ash Wednesday) February 10th and ends on Thursday (Maundy Thursday) March 24th – Lent lasts for 40 days prior to Easter. Sundays are not counted. Forty days were originally selected because Jesus spent 40 days of fasting prior to the start of His ministry. (Matthew 4:1-11)  Lent began in some form prior to A.D. 313.

The focus of lent is fasting, prayer, and repentance of sin in preparation for Easter (Tweet This)

There are many examples throughout the Bible fasting. Fasting was always a time when someone would go without food for a time so that they could position themselves to hear from God and / or repent of sin. Essentially fasting is an intentional time of focus to remove any distractions that would keep us from growing in our spiritual walk with Jesus.

The Purpose of Lent

There is not a biblical command to celebrate Lent but it is a long historical tradition of the church. Participation in Lent demonstrates a person’s desire and choice to set aside this time as part of their spiritual growth. Again it is a choice and desire of one’s heart and not as a command or law.

The purpose of Lent is to participate in a concentrated period of time to prepare our mind and our hearts to joyfully celebrate and remember the new life we have because of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection.

I love Christmas as a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus. However, it is his death on the cross that forgives us of our sins. His burial and resurrection (which we celebrate on Easter) give us a new life and the promise of a life eternally lived with God.

Easter comes each year so it is easy to take it as common and treat it as just another day. Celebrating Lent helps us recover the holiness and an understanding of the deep meaning of all that Jesus has done for us.

For God so Loved the World He freely gave is one and only begotten son so that anyone that believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16 (Paraphrase)

Suggestions on how to participate in Lent – Plan now what you will do

Fasting

  • Suggested ways to fast (If fasting food, be sure to consider your current health and dietary needs. Consult your Doctor if you have any doubts)
    • Fast a specific meal each day
    • Fast a full day (same day each week)
    • Fast sweets and sodas
    • Fast media TV, Internet, Facebook etc.
    • Fast meat

Prayer and meditation on God’s Word (Beyond what you are already doing).

  • Keep a Lent Prayer Journal
  • Wake up earlier or go to bed later and spend that time in prayer
  • Reflect on your own life. What sins do you need to confront?
  • Repent when needed.

Add additional Bible reading to your current Bible Study

  • Read through Psalms or the Gospels
  • Read another good book.
    • Consider a book that will take you deeper in your spiritual walk with Christ.

Lent is important. We don’t celebrate it out of some law but out of a desire of our hearts to take a time of reflection so we can celebrate and remember the death, burial and resurrection of our great Lord Jesus Christ. – The son of the Living God.

Will you celebrate Lent this year?  Tell me about it in the comments below.

 

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photo credit: Lent votives via photopin (license)

About the Author:

I am enthusiastic about helping others discover their purpose and grow into a deeper relationship with Jesus. It is great to see their eyes light up at their “Ah Ha!” moment when they discover they were created for something more. My hope is that this blog will help encourage and inspire you along your way. Join the conversation and take the time to share with me your own story. I have been married to my beautiful wife Janice for over 30 years. We currently live in McDonough Georgia with our daughter. Our two boys have left the nest and we have two wonderful grand kids. Of course we cannot forget about our dog Bear.