If you plan on giving up something for Lent, today is your last day of indulgence. Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the Christian holy day that marks the beginning of Lent, a 40-day journey that is considered preparation for Holy Week and the celebration of Easter.
The idea behind giving up something for Lent is based on Luke 9:23: “Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” It is about self denial, carrying our cross and following Jesus. Lenten discipline is something that’s done in a prayerful way, so that we can wholly renew ourselves in Christ.
I am reminded of the Scripture that should be the focus of Lent, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”
Perhaps rather than giving up chocolate or some other indulgence, we should give up ten minutes every day and spend that time praying or reading the Bible.
Perhaps we should spend time every week serving others. Perhaps we could write a brief Lenten meditation every day.
Whatever we give up for Lent, or whatever discipline we add to our lives, our prayer should be that God would create in us clean hearts and renew right spirits within us. My hope is to avoid a flippant decision that seems more like a New Year’s resolution. Instead, I want to walk the forty days of the Lenten Journey with awareness and reverence, using this forty day journey as an opportunity for spiritual transformation.