A Baptist’s View on Lent

 

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I often don’t share the fact that I’m Baptist online.  Not because I’m ashamed, but because for the purposes of an encouraging Christian website, that doesn’t delve terribly deep into theology, it’s mostly irrelevant.  Plus there are some Baptists out there I don’t care to be associated with. With that being said:

Lent snuck up on me.  I was vaguely aware of those terribly fattening and sugary pastries, whose Polish name is as difficult to spell as is to pronounce, being advertised at my local grocery store, but it still snuck up on me.

A Catholic friend announced she’d be giving up Facebook for 40 days, and I was reminded about what this season represents.

There’s something holy about fasting. Whether it’s from food for a day (or a few) or from something else for a longer period of time (like 40 days during Lent for example.)

Jesus fasted, Paul fasted, David fasted, Esther called on a whole race to fast, and it certainly stands to reason that many other Bible heroes fasted as well even if it wasn’t specifically mentioned in scripture.  Christ even says in scripture, “when you fast” in conversation, rather than “if you fast”.

The 40 days leading up to Easter certainly seems like a good time to choose to fast from something.  As a rule Baptist churches don’t encourage Lenten fasting, but I’ve personally given things up for Lent and I’ve known other Baptists to fast in this time as well.

BUT…….

There is a danger in a fasting if it’s merely a religious ritual.

We shouldn’t fast simply because a rule in our church says we should.  Fasting should come from a place of devotion to the Lord.  It should come from a place of wanting to strengthen our prayers and relationship with Him.

ON THE OTHER HAND……..

Baptists often tend to dismiss the horror of crucifixion in preference of celebrating the resurrection.  There is certainly a place for both.  40 days of discomfort, from giving something up, is just a reminder of the horrendous suffering Christ endured.   Many Baptists, and people of other Christian practices, would do well to suffer a little for the name of Christ.

ALTHOUGH………

The hallmark of Christianity is  grace.  There is nothing in scripture that asks us to fast from anything for 40 days before Resurrection Sunday.  You are no more of a Christian if you do, no less of a Christian if you don’t.  It’s God’s grace that saves not our works.

SO HOW SHOULD WE VIEW LENT?

Honestly I don’t think it matters.  Lent can be a time of focusing on Christ’s great sacrifice, but it certainly isn’t the only time of year to do this with our families.   To me, these 40 days are no more special than the rest.

Romans 14:5-6  says “One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day [alike]. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.”

If lent is a special time for you and your family, by all means honor it in whatever way God leads.

Colossians 2:16-17  is another great passage, “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath [days]:”

I’m not sure at this point if I’ll be giving anything up for lent or if we’ll be doing anything different to honor this time.  It’s all about letting God lead.

What is your family doing this Lent?  Are you giving anything up?

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12 Comments

  1. Great post! Thanks for sharing these thoughts from a very balanced perspective.

  2. I had to laugh as I too am a Baptist but don’t broadcast it for similar reasons. I grew up with many Catholics so I’m familiar with Ash Wednesday and Lent but never practiced those rituals. However, I was surprised that my church announced an Ash Wednesday service where six other local churches would join together. I went with trepidation but it was all about grace and not earning salvation. If anything, I’m not giving up anything for Lent but my heart longs to grow closer to Jesus.

    A great post KM!

    Blessings and love,
    Debbie
    Debbie recently posted…Soul Rest SundayMy Profile

    • KM Logan

      I’ve found a lot of closet Baptists online, I know the Baptist code words though so I can generally figure it out.

  3. Perfectly stated… thanks!

  4. My mother was raised as a Southern Baptist and my father as a Methodist. I and my brothers grew up in a United Methodist church. Lent was always part of the church calendar, but for me it really just meant a change in colors in the vestments of the clergy, and the decorations in the sanctuary, which were intended to focus attention on the meaning of the season. I’m sure some Methodists give up meat on Fridays or fast or do other things, but it was never really required. I’m a full-time vegetarian now, so giving up meat on Fridays would be a pretty meaningless sacrifice since I never eat meat anyway! I prefer to just focus on the spiritual meaning of the season. The UMC offers a lot of Lenten resources on their web page: http://www.umc.org/resources/lent-and-easter-resources

  5. I think you hit the mark when you said it’s all about letting God lead. Interestingly, I think God is prompting me to give up the scale for lent. Curious, since I’m in the middle of loosing some unwanted pounds, but maybe He wants me to focus more on how He sees me than what the scale says.
    Lisa recently posted…UNQUENCHABLE – a giveaway!My Profile

    • KM Logan

      I love this idea, I know a lot of women, myself included who would do well to do this.

  6. Rachel York

    I was raised a Catholic and AM Catholic, so for my entire life, we have celebrated Lent. And although it is very common for us to “give up” something for Lent, that is not always the case. Lent is a time for reflection. A time to REALLY focus on what Christ did for us. It is a special time to remind us what Easter is all about. Many Catholics choose to “add” something to their lives at this time, or change something in their lives at this time, such as adding more prayer time, making a point to do something for others each day, or volunteering. The idea is NOT to just do this just for 40 days, but in hopes that it will carry on into our daily lives. So for that person who “gave up Facebook for 40 days, The hope is that it will be a reminder (even after the 40 days) to focus on the things in life that are SO much more important: family, friends, prayer, etc. For me personally this year I have chosen to say ONLY positive things, I am refraining from saying anything negative to other people or about situations or people. I am praying that this will result in a constant habit, Because I feel I can be too negative and I want to make this change for God and for me. Lent for me is a time to “give back” to God; to give more of myself and to be selfless instead of selfish. Just like a New years resolution, I see Lent as a time to recharge for the rest of the year.
    Thank you for your insight! Let God Lead, and may He lead me to more selflessness and a greater walk with Him.

  7. I really enjoyed you’re view on this as it is similar to my own again the whole Baptist thing :) Although Lent is now over I will share this with my husband. I’m happily married to a devout Catholic we have two children and one more on the way, we decided to expose our children to not just our different takes on faith and religion but as many as we can. my oldest this year noticed that Daddy was doing things a little different and asked why Daddy was giving up sugar but we weren’t and it was hard to explain to him. but I like the way you put it and the way some of the commenters did as well. I look forward to discussing this with my husband and our children and hopefully providing a better reply than because that’s what Daddy does this time of year.

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