I’m no protestant, but has the “protestant” world all but completely forgotten what and who they originally protested??? It seems like more and more I see signs in churchyards and hear people talking about what they’re going to do (or not do) for “Lent.” Sadly, even members of the Lord’s church have gotten caught up in this outward display of religious ignorance!
The Bible doesn’t have much to say about “Lent” but it does say enough to be clear:
“Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations – “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,” which all concern things which perish with the using—according to the commandments and doctrines of men? These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.” (Colossians 2:20-23)
Do we get it? Outward restrictions don’t correct inward sins! “Lent” is the first thing I think of when I read Colossians 2:20-23 and then think of the religious world today. There is no biblical principle for this manmade doctrine. You don’t live it up on “Fat Tuesday” to give it up on “Ash Wednesday!” Sackcloth and ashes never changed a heart! Forty days of neglecting our self is not the same as forty days in the wilderness. Biblical prayer and fasting and “Lent” are not the same thing. One is about devotion to God and the other is about devotion to values that have no true value against wicked and sinful indulgences. It’s not what does or doesn’t go into the mouth that affects a person’s relationship with God – it’s what does or doesn’t come out of the heart that affects one’s relationship with God (Matthew 15:1-20). Depriving the body doesn’t equal feeding the soul! Never has, never will.
If something is not sinful it does not have to be given up to improve our relationship with God – but if something is sinful we best not wait for a time of self-imposed religion to correct something that needs to be addressed immediately. In other words, don’t wait for the “preparation of the Holy Week” to start living a Holy Life (1 Peter 1:13-16).
If you’re still looking for something to give up, my answer would be that the best thing to give up for “Lent” is “Lent” itself!