By Brother Michel Lankford
Question: What are you giving up for Lent?
This person obviously has not been around me very much, but since I try to take every challenge as a teachable moment both for myself and others, I decided to answer the question as follows:
I am sure that the person who put this question on my feed got more than they bargained for here. However, the truth is, I gave up Lent years ago, and I have ZERO desire to ever go back. Here’s why.
Since the question came directly as a request on my feed, I’ll give you a direct answer. I gave up Lent. I gave up worshiping God the Almighty Father in VAIN, (Matthew 15:1-9; Luke 7:1-13), and instead, I decided that I would learn to worship the Heavenly Father in spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24), as God desires.
You see, according to Jesus Christ Himself, any time that human beings “set aside” a direct Commandment given by God, (i.e. don’t obey what God said to do), yet they faithfully KEEP religious traditions and customs handed down by human beings, that is VAIN WORSHIP. Any time that you disregard or disobey a God-given Commandment, but you treat a religious commandment given by religious leaders AS IF it was a command given by God when it is not God-given, that is VAIN WORSHIP. In other words, you’re trying to offer worship to Almighty God, but God considers it to be a VANITY. That means that in God’s sight, HE considers it to be worthless, meaningless, and empty in His Sight. I want to be a person who worships Almighty God in Spirit and truth. By God’s Grace, I want to obey the Heavenly Father, and not worship men.
Disobeying what God commanded, but keeping religious traditions invented by human beings is FORBIDDEN in all of Scripture. It is forbidden in the Old Testament (Exodus 32:1-10; Deuteronomy 12:1-4, 8, 29-32; Deuteronomy 4:2; Isaiah 29:13). Disobeying God, but keeping religious traditions of men (i.e. vain worship) is also FORBIDDEN in the New Testament (John 4:23-24; Matthew 15:1-9; Luke 7:1-13; Colossians 2:8-9).
The religious tradition of fasting 40 days before Easter is NOT “Christian.” The tradition does NOT originate from a Christian or biblical mandate. The tradition of fasting and weeping 40 days before Easter is a Babylonian religious tradition, where the Babylonians practiced fasting and weeping for 40 days before Easter because they were fasting and weeping for the loss of the Babylonian god ‘Tamuz.’
When God’s people Israel started imitating this type of worship, God was not honored by it. He did not praise it. He did not Bless it. In fact, God was greatly OFFENDED by it (see Ezekiel 8). The thing is that mixing and blending pagan religious traditions with Godly worship actually VIOLATES a direct Commandment given by God. We cannot rightly use pagan methods, festivals, religious traditions, and customs to worship YHWH Almighty or to honor Christ. The tradition of mixing pagan customs with Godly worship into “Christianity” came by the decree of Emperor Constantine, (a human being), the Roman Catholic Church, and Roman Catholic Church councils, and direct OPPOSITION to what was Commanded and taught by God and Jesus Christ in the Bible. To celebrate Lent.would be a direct violation of (Exodus 32:1-10; Deuteronomy 12:1-4, 8, 29-32; Deuteronomy 4:2; Isaiah 29:13; John 4:23-24; Matthew 15:1-9; Luke 7:1-13; Colossians 2:8-9), to celebrate Lent. Since I’m trying to worship God in spirit and truth, and NOT worship “in VAIN,” I gave up honoring Lent.
If I’m going to bother giving God a sacrifice in worship, I want it to be something that will please Him and honor Him. I want it to be something that he will honor and respect. I don’t want it to be even remotely offensive in His Sight. Otherwise, there is ZERO point in the sacrifice. I want to Worship God as Abel did, and NOT like Cain did (Genesis 4). I want to learn what God says He wants, and practice doing that faithfully as Abel did. I don’t want to be like Cain and try to force God to accept what I want to give Him. That’s why avoiding “VAIN worship” matters.
As Samuel said in later times…
As it is written: So Samuel said: “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being king.” Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice.” (1 Samuel 15:22–24, NKJV)
So, will you learn and progressively obey what God says to do, or will you disobey God to follow religious customs and traditions invented by men? Will you become the kind of worshiper that the Father is seeking to worship Him, or will you try to offer God worship, that He declares to be a VANITY? I do not know what others will choose, but as for me and my house, we will serve YHWH Almighty God in Spirit and in truth. As YHWH gives us Grace, we will seek, we will learn, we will choose, and we will do what pleases Him in worship (Joshua 24:15; Isaiah 56:1-7).
Thank you for your kind attention
Brother Michel Lankford