The practice of giving something up for Lent is one of those practices that may seem outdated, but not if it’s done with the right attitude. If we do it as a way of gaining our own salvation it’s wrong, but if done as a reminder of what Jesus sacrificed for us we are giving thanks to Him.
Think of what He gave up for us. He left His holy throne in heaven where He ruled the world alongside His Father. He shed the riches of His office and became a poor man with no place to lay His head. He lived a life filled with frustration, anger, sadness, joy, weariness – just like we do every day. He taught, led, delivered and gave hope to those who had lost all hope. He allowed Himself to be humiliated in front of a court of people He’d come to save. He suffered a brutal beating, a jeering crowd, the weight of the cross and ultimately the loss of His physical life.
As we know, the story didn’t end there. When He overcame that pathetic death, He came alive again and showed Himself to His followers. He conquered death so we would know that our sins are forgiven and we too would never die.
So, is it all right to give something up for Lent? We can start by giving up our guilt. He came specifically to bear our iniquities and tells us to lay our burdens on Him. Still it’s not always easy to do so. Our human nature tells us we should be responsible people and be involved in some way. The truth is, we can’t save ourselves – only God can do that.
So if you want to thank Him for that in some outward way – don’t eat candy for 40 days. You might lose a pound or two and in the process you will be showing honor to the One who deserves our praise.