Reflecting on Lent, we might wonder how well we did in giving up something for Lent. Did we grow closer to Christ? Did we create a new habit of spending more time with our Lord through praying or reading the Bible?
When thinking about these questions, we might become discouraged because our goals for Lent did not go as planned. We might even feel as if we failed.
If you find yourself in this situation, then it is a beneficial time to step back and reflect on your experience. There are many reasons why giving up something for Lent might not have worked for you.
Whatever the reason, we should not become discouraged because we have new opportunities every day to grow in our relationship with Jesus.
The resurrection of Christ is important throughout the year and its impact extends beyond the season of Lent and Easter.
1. Remember that God’s Love for You Is Constant
Giving up something for Lent does not make God love you more. We do not earn special merit either. Instead, the purpose of Lent is to help people reflect on the purpose of Easter.
Fasting from an item or activity, like watching TV, is meant to free us from earthly attachments so we can focus on the Lord.
Nothing in the Bible indicates that doing certain activities, such as giving up something for Lent, makes God love us more. He loved us while we were still sinners, which is why He died in our place (Romans 5:8).
There is a reason God’s love is unconditional. We did nothing to deserve His love and we cannot earn His grace (Ephesians 2:8-9). The Lord loves us because that is His nature.
Furthermore, when we know Him as our Savior, we are kept in this wonderful love. As Romans 8:39 says, “No power in the sky above or in the earth below — indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (NLT). God never stops loving us.
So, if you are upset over your Lent goals and think that God loves you less because you did not do well at giving up an activity, take heart.
Nothing can separate you from Jesus’ love. He died to purchase you. Although you might feel like a failure, know that He is still working in your life (Philippians 1:6).
2. Our Inadequacies Reminds Us of Our Dependence on God
Once we remind ourselves that God’s love is not based on performance, we can step back and evaluate our experience with Lent.
Even if we were not “successful” in giving up something for Lent, we can learn from our actions. It is easy to look at success from a worldly view, but Scripture presents a different perspective.
Our inadequacies can help us realize that we are weak. We are incapable of living for God on our own. We need His help. Acknowledging our weakness is humbling, but also helpful because the Lord has “chose[n] the weak things of the world to shame the strong” (1 Corinthians 1:27).
Jesus said “my power is made perfect in weakness” when He spoke to Paul about the apostle’s thorn in the flesh (2 Corinthians 12:9).
The Lord is exalted in our weakness because it emphasizes His strength. Instead of trying to live in our power or strength, we need to recognize our weakness and ask God to help us follow Him.
The weeks after Lent are a beneficial time to recognize our inability and to ask God to work in us and give us the strength to live for Him.
3. Reflecting on Salvation Extends Beyond Lent
Spending time with the Lord and meditating on His resurrection is not just an activity for the Lenten season. The early Christians recognized this because they chose to meet every week on Sunday, which is the day Jesus rose to life (Acts 20:7).
They regularly observed the Lord’s Supper when they met together, which is a memorial of Jesus’ sacrifice (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). Thus, the early Christians recognized the importance of regularly remembering Christ’s death and resurrection.
Like the early Christians, we can regularly reflect on the significance of Jesus’ death and resurrection. In focusing on the Lord, we turn our eyes away from the distractions of the world.
Scripture indicates the importance of throwing off temptations and fixing our eyes on Jesus as we continue in our journey of life (Hebrews 12:1-2).
We do not become as easily occupied with worldly pursuits when we focus on Christ and remember what He has done for us.
Therefore, we can reflect on Jesus’ death and resurrection regularly, not just on Easter. He died to free us from sin and rose to life to give us a new life in Him (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Staying focused on Him helps us remain grounded in our purpose for living and protects us from worldly distractions.
4. Be Encouraged that Spiritual Growth Is a Continual Process
Just as the death and resurrection of Jesus are important every day of our lives, so also is the investment in spiritual growth vital throughout the year.
Even if the Lenten season did not result in the spiritual growth we hoped for, we can continue to cultivate our relationship with the Lord.
The same is true for people who did experience a closeness with the Lord during Easter. They should not wait until next Easter to continue spending time with God.
Spiritual growth is a process, not an event. Throughout our lives, we should always be growing in Christ and becoming more like Him. When we first place our faith in Him, we learn the basic truths of the Bible, similar to how a baby drinks milk (1 Corinthians 3:2).
As we learn more about God and continue growing in Him, we should strive for increasing maturity. As the writer of Hebrews wrote when addressing Christians who should have been more mature,
So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely, we don’t need to start again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds and placing our faith in God (Hebrews 6:1, NLT).
We should always be growing spiritually.
We can invest in our relationship with Christ the entire year by reading His Word, praying, and worshiping Him.
Just because Lent is over does not mean we stop growing in our walk with Christ. Even if we think we failed during Lent, we still have time and opportunity to invest in our spiritual growth.
5. Don’t Give Up
Believers should not give up even if they feel like a failure after Lent. Some Christians might not have carried out their original plans to abstain from a certain activity during Lent, but they still have an opportunity to experience a deeper relationship with the Lord and reflect on the gospel.
Instead of giving in to despair about failed Lent goals, we need to remember that God loves us. He demonstrated this love in His death and resurrection to save us. Nothing we do can remove us from His love. Whether we were successful in our Lenten goals or not, God’s love remains the same.
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Sophia Bricker is a freelance writer who enjoys researching and writing articles on biblical and theological topics. In addition to contributing articles about biblical questions as a contract writer, she has also written for Unlocked devotional. She holds a BA in Ministry, a MA in Ministry, and is currently pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing to develop her writing craft. As someone who is passionate about the Bible and faith in Jesus, her mission is to help others learn about Christ and glorify Him in her writing. When she isn’t busy studying or writing, Sophia enjoys spending time with family, reading, drawing, and gardening.