Today…we track. #recording #martin #john14 @forrestercc
Let me start of by saying, this article is about why I personally choose to not participate in Lent. This is not a ‘why you shouldn’t participate in Lent’ article. I have good friends who participate and I’ve had conversations with some of them about it. With that said, I am in no means looking down on people who choose to be involved. I’m merely thinking out loud and wanting to put a few things in perspective.
Yesterday was Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent. Historically, this is an event originating in the Eastern Orthodox Church. It takes place 6 weeks before Easter and the traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer through prayer, penance, repentance of sins, almsgiving, atonement and self-denial. It is ultimately a means to heighten awareness to commemorate the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.
I understand the purpose of Lent, but honestly, there is no biblical evidence of it being sacrament that followers of Jesus are called to take part in. There are two sacraments that Jesus has called all believers to partake in, baptism and communion. I will touch on both of those and why these are imperative to the life of a believer. But for now, a major concern of mine is that Lent has been belittled to nothing but a joke. Let me explain, yesterday, I checked my Facebook app at lunch time yesterday and as I scroll down I see numerous post about, “This year, I’m giving up Facebook for Lent, I’m giving up chocolate, I’m giving up coffee, etc, etc.” My initial response is, so in the remembrance of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, who bore the wrath of God, died for your sins, given us victory of sin and death, and through that reconciling us back to a right-standing relationship with the Father, you’ve decided to give up Facebook to remember that? Jesus gave up His life for us and has called us to a daily act of dying to ourself to follow Him, not just to give up Facebook, chocolate, or candy for 6 weeks. Are you just giving up Facebook, or chocolate, or coffee to devote more time in prayer, seeking God, and studying His word or just to say you gave up something? When we are living our lives in accordance to the Gospel, our every day should pursuing Christ and His holiness. Daily Christian living means daily Christian dying. We shouldn’t need “Lent” to remember what Christ has done for us.
Secondly, Jesus died on the cross to bring us freedom! “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1. The yoke of slavery Paul is referring to is of sin and the law. The Jewish Law is an almost never ending list of rules and regulations that people were to follow in the Old Testament. People drowned under the law as it was impossible to uphold. In Romans 7, Paul tells that the law is what shows us how sinful we truly are. It shows us the unrighteousness of our flesh, but the righteousness of Christ. In Romans 3, we see that all men have fallen short of the glory of God. This is why Jesus came, died, and rose again. He has fulfilled the Law and imputed His righteousness to an unworthy and unrighteous people. We are called to freedom brothers. Jesus plus nothing equals everything. He has truly done it all. Lent is a season that highlights for 40 days what should be highlighted 365 days a year in Christianity.
This brings me to my last point. The two sacraments that Jesus has called to continue and to remember, baptism and communion. We are to follow Jesus’ example of baptism that we see in the Gospels. The Great Commission in Matthew 28 commands the disciples to go unto every nation baptizing people in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We see continuously throughout the New Testament that baptism is a sign of acting on your faith in Jesus. Baptism of water is what God has commanded and baptism of the Spirit is what he promises. Baptism is a sign of obedience that takes place after a person confesses their sin and places their faith in Christ as their Saviour. Communion is the second sacrament that we are called to remember and participate in. The Last Supper is iconic in the Christian community and the world as well. This is the night that Jesus was betrayed. But before that, he sat with the disciples and they broke the bread and drank the wine. Jesus tells the disciples to, “Do this is remembrance of me.” 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 is the recollection of Paul of the night in which Jesus was betrayed. He writes to the church in Corinth about The Lord’s Supper playing such a huge role in the life of a believer. It is a time for a believer to reflect on the sacrifice that Jesus gave. However, the Lord’s Supper isn’t meant for just anyone to apart of either as we see in 1 Corinthians 11: 27-28. The interpretation is that both of these sacraments are meant to be participated in by only believers in Jesus. When people who aren’t going about their daily lives walking in accordance to the Gospel and they claim to participate in Lent, this can further cause confusion on this subject. When the Holy Spirit truly draws a person to Himself and regeneration occurs, the ending result is a new creation in Christ. We don’t just focus on the Gospel for 40 days, it is a lifestyle. For the unbeliever participating in “Lent,” it’s actually not Lent at all, it’s called a diet. In the same regard, “baptism” for an unbeliever is just a really quick, public bath.
As I said as the beginning of this article, these are strictly my opinions. Also, there are some really amazing followers of Jesus who participate in Lent and they fully understand the purposes and the seriousness of the matter. This is strictly a matter of “walking out your own salvation” in however you feel convicted on the matter. But as for me, I choose to stand on the righteousness of Christ and Him alone. His grace is sufficient for me and I rest in that peace.
Took the kid to the ‘Dollar Theater’ on its last weekend of existence. #ripdollartheater #anzalicious #onlyonesinthetheater #themovies #nostalgia #35mm (at Ashley Cinema)
My man @tsparkerson wrote this book and it’s amazing. If you are interested in leading worship or you’ve been leading for years, this book is for you! Let me know if your interested in purchasing one. #crosspointeval #crosspointeworship #thegospel #worshipleading
I love this woman. @claire_rice #whatmywifelookslike #babyricegrain #ricericebabyboy #ricericebabyy #babyjudah
Teaching this little prego-beauty how to hit a little white ball. #ricericebabyy #babyricegrain #whatmywifelookslike #ricericebabyboy #golf @claire_rice (at Swan Lake Clubhouse)
#anzalicious got to play in some snow today. #snowpocalypse #snowpocalypse2014 (at Purple Mountain Natural Foods)
Hear ye, hear ye…..it’s a BOY!!!!!! #babyricegrain #ricericebabyy #whatmywifelookslike #itsaboy @claire_rice (at The Noble House of Rice)