You may or may not be aware but we have entered what many people consider the holiest season of the year: Lent.
Lent and all that goes along with it (“Fat Tuesday,” “Ash Wednesday,” “Maundy Thursday,” etc.) is a Catholic tradition that has been adopted by many Protestant denominations and even some in the church of Christ. I tell you this because you need to know that Lent is NOT found in the Bible...it is a tradition of man.
The Catholic Education Resource Center begins it’s article on Lent by saying, “Lent is a special time of prayer, penance, sacrifice and good works in preparation of the celebration of Easter.”1
Lent is characterized by “giving up” something for God. Typically what you “give up for Lent” is something that might be coming between you and God or that is taking time away that you could be spending for God.
A few examples of things people might give up for Lent might be social media, cell phone use, TV (or maybe just a program), alcohol, meat, dining out, etc.
These things are “given up” for a period of 40 days (from “Ash Wednesday” to “Maundy Thursday”) but you are allowed to take Sundays off and “take back” that which you have “given up”...otherwise it would add up to 46 days.
While Lent is not found in the Bible, some aspects are actually biblical. So why is it that we do not celebrate Lent (or at least the biblical aspects of it)?
Well, if praying, repenting, sacrifice and good works are appropriate for 40 days out of the year, what about the other 325¼?
If something is coming between you and God or is taking up time that you could be spending with God (prayer, study, serving, etc.), why would you want to give it up for just 40 days? Why would you just “give it up for Lent”? Shouldn’t you, rather, “give it up for good”?