For approximately 1 billion Catholics and thousands, if not millions, of Protestants around the world, the start of Lent begins 40 days of prayer, confession, and self denial leading to Easter.
People who participate make various sacrifices. Many abstain from physical pleasures or give up modern conveniences.
The intent of Lent is to prepare people for the Easter events when we celebrate the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus.
The season of Lent is to hopefully result in purification for one's life by weaning people from sin through self denial and prayer.
While the purpose of Lent may seem good, there are negative issues.
One, many of those who make sacrifices or abstain from sinful behavior go back to their former way of living once Easter has passed.
Two, many are led to believe that through fasting and self discipline that the worshipper will gain control over his or her sinful nature. This is misguided thinking. With his or her best intentions and most determined efforts no person can control his or her sinful nature. No person can purify their life, nor resist sin, and transform their lives.
Only surrendering one's life to the Lord Jesus makes life transformation possible. Only Jesus through the Holy Spirit can purify a life, bring that life under control, and give that person continual victory over sin. Galatians 5:16-25
Three, what those who observe Lent should remember is that forsaking of sin and sinful ways to be prepared to celebrate the events of Easter is not to be a one time a year happening.
This should occur daily in the believer's life. Each day we should be prayerful, confessing our sins, resisting temptations, and seeking power from the Holy Spirit to live a life that would honor our Savior.
We as well should daily praise, worship, and celebrate Jesus and what He has accomplished in His death on the cross and His resurrection from the grave.
I pray the days leading to Easter will be a time of renewal for all of us and that the hope, peace, and love of Christ will flourish in all our lives.