Lent: What it is and Why it Matters
Lent is a complicated topic for most Christians. Many struggle with how to fast and dedicate a season to the Lord without simply creating New Year’s resolutions 2.0. Others have neglected it altogether because it feels confusing and too old-school to apply to their lives. I typically fall somewhere in the middle.
I want to participate in Lent. I recognize the importance and see why Christians have handed down the tradition from generation to generation, but also, it is hard. It’s hard to be counter-cultural and it’s even harder to be self-denying and confront your own failures and shortcomings.
I know I have a great Savior, but I don’t like anything that reminds me I needed saving. Lent confronts me with all of the reasons why I needed Christ to come. It reminds me of my mortality, that I will one day, die and return to dust. My sinful nature is brought forth as I examine my life and see where I fall short. My struggle with fasting, whether from food or activities, shows me how weak and frail my body and will are.
But Lent doesn’t remind us of our weaknesses to leave us beaten down and feeling weak, it points us to great needs only to then show us our Hope and Salvation on Easter morning. And that is a grace that we can only find once we are humble of heart, recognizing that we cannot be who we were made to be on our own.
There are three traditional spiritual disciplines that Christians have focused on for the season of Lent to help grow in the faith and holiness; fasting, almsgiving, and prayer.
Fasting – This is the discipline most commonly associated with Lent. Traditionally, believers fasted from meat and restricted their eating throughout all 40 days of Lent. Fasting should be a regular part of all Christian lives but Lent should be a time when we focus especially on giving up what is good to unite ourselves with the sufferings of Christ and seek after the imperishable goods of the Lord.
Almsgiving – This is basically a fancy, old-fashioned word for charitable giving. Like Advent, Lent is a time to give charitably to your fellow man in need. One simple way to increase your giving is to take the money you normally spend on whatever you’re fasting from and instead, delegate that money to your local church, someone you know in need, or a charitable organization instead.
Prayer – Prayer and fasting go hand-in-hand. Jesus spoke of the importance of prayer and fasting in spiritual warfare as two acts that need to coincide (Matthew 17:21). Spend time this Lent training and dedicating yourself to prayer. If prayer is a struggle for you, I encourage you to start my praying the Psalms or grabbing a book of prayers.
Whatever your relationship has been with Lent, I encourage you to start fresh this year. Embraces the traditions that have been handed down. Do not shrink back because of discomfort that growth often brings, but embrace the path that God has called you to, the path of becoming more and more like Christ.Whatever your relationship has been with Lent, I encourage you to start fresh this year. Embraces the traditions that have been handed down. Do not shrink back because of discomfort that growth often brings, but embrace the path… Click To Tweet
If your church has Ash Wednesday services, Stations of the Cross on Fridays, or Holy Week services, participate whole-heartedly. If it doesn’t, I encourage you to branch out and join other believers in your area for their services these days.
Jump into the Lenten season.
Embrace the depth of the love God has for you and make this Lent just one small way you offer yourself back to him as a living sacrifice. And if you are overwhelmed, reach out to a local priest or pastor for help. Find a book from a trusted believer or grab a devotional to guide you through this season.
I know what it’s like to feel overwhelmed by your faith. That’s why I designed a workbook to simplify your Lent by helping you determine how to practically live out your faith and by providing daily accountability.
Note: Some of the links below are affiliate links which means I may receive compensation for any purchases you make at no additional cost to you. See my sidebar for my full disclosure.
40 Days to the Cross is a Lenten workbook designed to provide guidance and accountability on your journey to the foot of the Cross through the 40 days of Lent. If you’re ready to dig deeper into your faith this Lent, join me this season by utilizing this workbook to embrace the practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving as the Church has for generations.
IF YOU’RE READY TO TAKE YOUR FAITH TO THE NEXT LEVEL, 40 DAYS TO THE CROSS IS FOR YOU.
Looking for the physical copy of 40 Days to the Cross? You can find it here on Amazon!