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.
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.
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?