5 Things Any Christian Might Want to Give Up for Lent
Lent is part of a Catholic practice that begins on Ash Wednesday every year, but some aspects of Lent are beneficial to everyone. We can be sure that rituals can be excellent things because God prescribed some rituals for his people to practice. Partaking of communion is one example. Lent is a 40-day period, not counting Sundays, leading up to Easter. It begins on Ash Wednesday, and it is a period of repentance, fasting, and preparation for Easter. Learn more below, including suggestions for how to observe Lent.
What is Ash Wednesday About?
Ash Wednesday is a holy day. Catholics have ashes placed on their foreheads as a sign of repentance. The ashes are made from burning palms. This is in recognition of Palm Sunday, in which Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey and worshippers covered his path with palm fronds.
What is Given Up for Lent?
The idea of Lent is to make a sacrifice in devotional commitment to Jesus and in recognition of what he suffered on our behalf. Further below, find some suggestions for recognizing Lent.
When Does Lent End?
Lent ends on Holy Thursday, and Catholics participate in the Mass of the Last Supper. Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday are all sacred days in which the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus is reflected upon.
5 Things to Give Up for Lent
It is, of course, an entirely personal decision how a person recognizes Lent. There are some things every Christian could benefit from giving up, however, including the five things to give up for lent listed below:
- Complaining. God makes it clear in the Bible that he hates complaining. After Moses led God’s nation of Israel out of Egypt and away from 420 years of slavery, they complained at just about every turn. God’s wrath burned against them for their mumblings. Who could blame God? He had provided for their every need without fail, and yet they still whined when things didn’t go the way they liked.
- Gossip. Only a person with a seared conscious doesn’t realize that gossip is wrong. What is gossip? It’s idle talk or speaking about rumors and the private matters of others. There is nothing good about gossip because it doesn’t serve to lift anyone up. It has destructive qualities that cause people a lot of pain.
- Judgment. The Bible tells us not to judge or we, too, will be judged. Also, we will be judged in the same manner in which we judged others—verses found in Matthew 7:1-5. Giving up a habit of making judgments for lent would hopefully become a lifetime habit.
- Worry. God is also clear in his word that we are not to worry. Philippians 4:6-7 New International Version (NIV) says: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
- Guilt. Jesus died on the cross so that you could be free of guilt. It’s a waste of energy to feel guilty for things you have already been forgiven for. Ask God for forgiveness and then move on. Jesus wants us to be free, not bound by things that have been erased.
Will You Celebrate Lent?
It’s okay if you aren’t Catholic. If you are interested in participating in a period of making sacrifices as a way of honoring Jesus, that’s a good thing. He is coming back, after all. In a household where no one else recognizes the Lent season, you can have the joy of knowing you are celebrating between yourself and God.