Inside: Do you celebrate Lent? Can I be honest, I’ve been a Christian for longer than I remember, but I didn’t know anything about Lent. When we realize the importance of Lent, we can answer the question ‘what to give up for Lent?’ We can focus and grow more like Christ through acts of worship.
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Are you asking yourself “what should I give up for lent?”
Can I be honest? I’ve been a Christian for longer than I remember, but I don’t know anything about Lent.
I know Ash Wednesday is the start of Lent, and it lasts forty days, ending at Easter, but this is just the gist of it.
Why We Should Give up and Prepare for Lent
The two most important celebrations for Christians are Christmas and Easter. Christ came as a baby on Christmas, and he died on the cross and rose from the dead on Easter. Both events are huge to us because they signify God coming into the world to save us from the grip of sin and death.
My family has celebrated Advent in the past, which are the days leading up to Christmas, but we haven’t really ever celebrated Lent.
What is the Importance of Lent
So I admit it, I’m not really sure how to celebrate Lent and prepare for Easter. I can decorate my house with bunnies, eggs, and crosses, but I don’t feel like I’m doing anything within my heart to prepare.
Lent comes from the Anglo-Saxon word lencten which means “spring.” It’s a time for growth. The forty-day length of Lent is reminiscent of the forty days that Jesus spent in the wilderness with Satan.
Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone but in every leaf of springtime. ~Martin Luther
This period of time is a chance for self-reflection, self-examination, and the opening of our hearts to prepare for the wondrous gift of the resurrection of Jesus.
During these weeks, we open our hearts through:
- Giving to others
How Do We Open Our Hearts?
Through prayer and confession, we can ask ourselves “am I conforming to God’s will for my life?” If I’m not, what sin is keeping a stronghold on me? What is keeping me from surrendering to God and trusting in His leading in my life?
We fast in order to focus on God in an absolute way. When our flesh starts to desire what we’ve given up, we refocus on God and pray to Him. Fasting, by the way, isn’t a requirement, but a gift to God for what He did for us.
Can I be honest? I have been lousy at giving things up for God.
When we give up something, we want it to be something that affects us.
I’ve chosen things in the past that hurt too much for me to give up, and then when I indulge in them, I feel shame and guilt. I don’t think God wants us to feel these ways.
(Romans 8:1, NLT).
8 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.
By giving to others, we observe those suffering or needing help and participate in remembrance or joining in the suffering of Christ.
All of these acts of worship are done not because we need to earn our way to Heaven, but rather as a dedication, a desire to grow more Christ-like, and as thankfulness of the gift of Christ’s death for our sins.As Christians, we don’t have to do anything because Jesus has done it all to save us. #beautyofthecross #forgiven Click To Tweet
So when we might start thinking “what to give up for lent,” we don’t have to, because Christ gave it all up for us.
(Philippians 3:10-11, NLT).
10 I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, 11 so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!
How Can Our Families Participate in Lent?
- Plant a bulb.
- Read daily devotions as a family. Here are a few :
Only Through Jesus,
Prepare for Easter: Daily Devotions from Billy Graham
- Give up something.
- Pray for a few individuals as a family.
- Keep a gratitude journal.
- Read the Gospels.
- Decorate an Easter tree.
- Go out for a Fish Fry
- Share your faith in more bold ways.
- Decorate the house.
- Watch the Passion of Christ.
- Invite others to church on Easter.
- Open Resurrection Eggs.
- Read an Easter book.
After learning about Lent, I’m moved to try and make some changes this year. I don’t want to diminish God’s gift to me or my family by not taking the time to prepare our hearts.
- This year can be a season of new growth and surrender to God’s will for our lives. A time of opening our hearts to allow God to do His work. We can be filled with greater awe of the gift of the cross.
God proved His love on the Cross. When Christ hung, and bled, and died, it was God saying to the world, ‘I love you.‘ ~Billy Graham