Here’s my problem: If Lent is the season when we consider afresh the great love and mercy of our Savior in willingly dying for our sins, then it has absolutely nothing to do with giving up chocolate (or caramel-mocha lattes or good barbeque). The purpose of Lent is to remind us of the hatefulness and deadliness of sin. Thus, if we’re going to “give up” something in honor of Lent, that something ought to be sin – and not something that God is perfectly pleased with.
God loves chocolate and good barbeque (He probably even tolerates caramel-mocha lattes) but it’s certain that He hates sin. Lent, if we’re observing it properly, should teach us to hate what God hates – and give that up.
Further, remember this: repentance means not only “putting off” sin and evil, but “putting on” new obedience (Eph. 4:22-24; Rom. 6:1-4). So, our focus during Lent is not merely to be negative – growing in our hatred of sin – it should also be positive – praying for strength to walk in new obedience. Where have you been unfaithful or careless in your walk? Where are you negligent in your obedience? Make Lent the time to identify these areas and focus upon growing in faithfulness.
Lent is the season when we are to remember the high price that was paid for our salvation. And as we remember, we are to give ourselves to growing in gratitude for God’s love and growing in likeness to the One who gave Himself for us.
So, here’s a Lenten resolution for you: “This Lenten season, I want to grow in my hatred of sin so that I can turn from it and walk in new obedience, growing in conformity to my faithful Savior, Jesus. . . . and I’m going to give thanks for Jesus’ love by eating some really good food in anticipation of Easter.”