Has it become more about "talking" about what one gives up and becoming similar to New Years resolution, often made but seldom kept? Certainly there are those who are faithful and do set aside certain things during this time but is that really what Lent is about?
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me." For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?
Some say, What a harsh thing it is of Jesus to command us to take up our cross for does not a cross mean death?
Indeed it does and we need to remember that it was Christ who took up HIS Cross and DIED for US with no complaint. He DENIED Himself to become sacrifice for all. Without such denial and His taking up of the Cross we would be without hope.
Did Jesus mean that we were to die on the cross in a literal scene of the word? No, but we are to die to ourselves, in the manner of how Paul spoke of putting away the old man and putting on the new.
Romans 6: 5-6 -- For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.
How can one be crucified without a cross? Unless we take up our cross we can not die to self as Paul was speaking of in his use of "putting away of the old man". If there is no death how can there be a resurrection and thus follows the question-- How can we be resurrected into a new life with him?
Romans 6: 7-11-- For he who has died has been freed from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6: 3-4-- Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Ask yourself ; Is true denial of self our goal not only in Lent but through the rest of the year as well?
If the answer is yes then we can truly celebrate Lent as well as Easter.
If the answer is no or there is a sudden silence within, perhaps we need to stop and consider what Christ did for us.
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5: 8
A clearer definition of Lent could be since this sums up the entire definition given above.
John 3:30 He must increase, but I must decrease.
Let us find the true meaning of Lent rather than just making platitudes and a show of piety to satisfy our own needs and that of the world. May we take up our cross, deny ourselves and follow Him so that indeed we will decrease so that He can increase.