Mar 01, 2017 by Will Maule

5 Reasons Why Christians Should NOT Observe Lent

Lent can be an extraordinary time of fixing our eyes on Jesus, and remembering what a sacrifice he paid for us, as we commit to our own lesser personal sacrifices for 40 days. But is there ever a reason not to take part in this holy season? Well, Aaron Damiani at Crosswalk highlights 5 reasons why Christians should not observe Lent. 

1. To slim your waistline.
"Lent is not a season for weight loss. Yes, Lent involves a taming of the physical appetites. But the goal is to cultivate a spiritual hunger for God, not a slimmer physique. If you turn Lent into a season of self-improvement, you’ll miss the greater vision of drawing close to Jesus Christ and becoming like him. Besides, lenten fasts and fish Fridays are ineffective methods of losing weight -- if that’s your goal, it’s better to try the Whole 30 diet and exercise three times a week.

2. To make God happy.
"Sometimes I like to think I can control God, making him happy (or just less angry) simply by taking up the classic Lenten disciplines of prayer, fasting and generosity towards others. At its heart, this is a "hunger strike" approach to God -- going without food to get the attention of the prison warden. I’ve found out the hard way that God does not play along with that silly game. This will just leave us either proud or depressed: “Why have we fasted, and you see it not?” (Isaiah 58:3)."

3. To cure an addiction.
"While Lent is a great time to address the bodily cravings that have enslaved us, the spiritual journey will not cure addictions. If you feel powerless to break a dependence on alcohol, sexual activity, gambling, drugs, overeating or any other vice, seek professional help from a licensed counselor and an addiction recovery program in your church or community. The spiritual benefits of observing Lent with the people of God will be a support and encouragement as you walk the road of recovery."

4. To showcase your spirituality or virtue.
"Let’s be honest: Most of us want to be admired for our virtue and recognized for our hard work. I know I do. But Lent is a time for us to seek a greater reward: the blessing of God the Father which is ours through the free gift of his Son Jesus. “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them,” Jesus warned, “for then you will have no reward from your Father who is Heaven” (Matthew 6:1)."

5. Because it’s the cool trend.
"In all honesty, I fell hard for this one. I started practicing Lent because everyone at my new church observed the season. Increasing numbers of people from all walks of life are jumping on the Lent bandwagon. Maybe they are feeling far from God and want a tangible way to reignite their spirituality.Or perhaps they’re feeling adrift in the modern world and want to reconnect with ancient practices.  In any case, don’t join the herd out of a fear of missing out. The mystique will wear off faster than the dirt on your forehead from AshWednesday."

Let's commit to prayerfully taking part in the season of Lent for all the right reasons! Amen!

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