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Is Lent Spent?

April 25, 2011
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Yesterday we celebrated Easter. For some of us, it ended a season where we focused on engaging in or refraining from an activity for the 40 days leading up to Easter we call Lent. What do you think of your Lenten practice today? Are you relieved that it is over so you can resume your previous practices (these are often related to diet or exercise!)? Have you found that the Lenten discipline actually became a valuable part of your Christian way of life? 

If the discipline was of no value, there is no reason to continue it. You can write it off as a guilt free experiment and begin to think about what might be more meaningful next year. 

However, if you just did it for the satisfaction of saying you did it, you may have missed the whole point. If a Lenten discipline can be adopted and dropped without any impact on our life, why bother? If we merely gutted out our discipline and now feel relieved it is over, we may have just indulged in a serious bout of religious legalism. Feeling we have accomplished the goal on our own gives us an unhealthy dose of spiritual pride in our effort. The purpose of a discipline is to help us recognize a deeper dependence on Christ, develop a more humble character, and discover more joy in our journey. 

Here is a question for you. If it was a good practice for the 40 days of Lent, why stop now? If your Lenten discipline helped you to use your time better, improve your relationships, or draw closer to God, why would you want to stop doing it? Our calendars may tell us the time is over, but our hearts may be telling us that we have just begun. We are in a sweet place when we realize that making ourselves servants of Jesus sets us free.

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