If you’re comfortable living in sin, then you should be comfortable with the outcome of your sinful living. – Rev. Dr. L. Bernard Jakes
Lent is a good thing, I believe its initial purpose is good too but there has been a thwart of purpose in recent times. There is nothing wrong with setting a special day aside to reflect on the sufferings of Jesus, but I think that period should also focus on the victory of Jesus through His suffering. However, my problem with Lent is based on what some Christians think it is… We should repent of sin everyday and not just 46days in a year.
Lent is a period of fasting, moderation, and self denial traditionally observed by Catholics and some Protestant denominations. It begins with Ash Wednesday and ends with Easter Sunday. The length of the Lenten fast was established in the 4th century as 46 days (40 days, not counting Sundays). During Lent, participants eat sparingly or give up a particular food or habit. It’s not uncommon for people to give up smoking during Lent, or to swear off watching television or eating candy or telling lies. It’s six weeks of self-discipline. Catholics view Easter as the Christians holiest day so during lent they prepare for that day.
The austerity of the Lenten season was seen as similar to how people in the Old Testament fasted and repented in sackcloth and ashes ( Esther 4:1-3; Jeremiah 6:26; Daniel 9:3).
Lent is not the only time to say no to sin! Every time is best to reject sin! A believer don’t reject sin on a special day, a believer rejected sin a long time ago… The day he got born again! But there is need to actively participate in that rejection! I think the concept of Lent is a good thing even though the motive has been thwarted by religion.
Over the centuries, Lenten observances have developed a much more “sacramental” value. Over 1 billion Christians believe that giving something up for Lent is a way to attain God’s blessing. But the Bible teaches that grace cannot be earned; grace is “the gift of righteousness” ( Romans 5:17).
Also, Jesus taught that fasting should be done discreetly:
“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen” ( Matthew 6:16-18).
Jesus’ command to “wash your face” seems to conflict with the practice of rubbing ashes on one’s face on Ash Wednesday. I am not in the position to say Ash Wednesday is wrong anyway…
Fasting can be a good thing, and God is pleased when we repent of sinful habits. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with setting aside some time to focus on Jesus’ death and resurrection. However, repenting of sin is something we should be doing every day of the year, not just for the 46 days of Lent.
If a Christian wishes to observe Lent, he is free to do so. The key is to focus on repenting of sin and consecrating oneself to God. Lent should not be a time of boasting of one’s sacrifice or trying to earn God’s favor or increasing His love. God’s love for us could not be any greater than it already is.
So many Christians don’t eat meat on length and they don’t sing praises or even make celebrations to God’s glory. We have clouded the celebration of Lent with religion! That is why some persons are good on lent and never good at the other days!
Lent for some Christians is a time to mourn Christ! What a mess? By having the sign of the cross made with ashes on their foreheads, they mourn Christ’s suffering on the cross and their own sins, which made that suffering necessary. We need to understand that there is no need to mourn Christ anymore… Rather we celebrate His resurrection, ascension and glorification! Jesus is no longer dead!
Ash-Wednesday for a believer is supposed to be a Beautiful-Wednesday or Crown-Wednesday! Concerning this day, Isaiah made a prophecy
“and provide for those who grieve in Zion– to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor”. Isaiah 61:3
I could remember some years back in an Anglican Church I used to attend, we had an evangelical Pastor who on Ash-Wednesdays would rather anoint us with “oil of joy” instead of “ash for mourning”.
However you see it, I don’t commemorate the beginning of Lent with Ash as for mourning! The Lord has turned my morning into dancing! The cross is no longer a place of suffering but a place of Victory!
“You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my (sack) clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy”. Psalm 30:11
Would you rather want to mourn a resurrected Jesus or would prefer celebrating him instead? Celebrating Him includes living a life of godliness and maintaining a closer and more intimate relationship with Him in worship and adoration! That is the message Lent is supposed to carry!