As a Baptist, I don’t practice Lent in the way that some fellow believers do. I know some Baptists who do, but it has never been a priority for me.
I remember one day, several years ago in Michigan, I was playing golf with three men from my church. I was not having a good day. After one particularly bad shot I sighed, "I’m going to give up golf for Lent."
One guy in the group quickly responded, "Now, pastor, I’m not Catholic either, but I think you’re supposed to give up something you enjoy." Yeah. And he was a friend.
According to Wikepedia, "Lent is a solemn religious observance that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends before Easter Sunday. The purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer for Easter."
It would seem that Lent, in some ways, serves as a reminder to us of the great sacrifice of Jesus on our behalf. As a person observes Lent, he/she will often give up something of importance in order better to understand what Jesus did for us.
The truth is that none of us can fully understand what Jesus did for us. It is absolutely beyond our comprehension. And yet one aspect of worship and service is to try to get our minds around the goodness and the grace of God.
He has been so good to us. We do not deserve his love, and yet he offers it freely.
I suppose this idea of our sinfulness, and the fact that we do not deserve grace, is one of the most misunderstood (and even controversial) ideas in our culture today.
How often have you heard, "I’m a good person," spoken defiantly? To say that we are sinful does not mean that we are as bad as we could be. But it is to say that we are not as good as we should be. And because of that we need grace.
The first step to a relationship with God is to understand that I am a sinner. I need God. Without him, I am nothing, and I have nothing.
I pray that you will yourself as you really are. You are a marvelous being, created in the image of God. And yet, you are a sinner in need of grace. And the best news of all is that God offers that grace through his Son Jesus.