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5 Biblical Ways to Celebrate Lent

Drawing inspiration for the season from Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness
Woman with her eyes closed in a field of purple flowers to celebrate lent
Credit: Getty Images
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Lent is coming soon. Ash Wednesday is on February 22. Usually, I give up something for those 40 days—remembering how Jesus fasted in the wilderness. But now I’m thinking, “Haven’t we given up enough already with this pandemic?” It feels like I’ve been doing Lent since March 2020! It left me wondering: how do we celebrate Lent in a new way?

It was a minister friend who set me straight. “Practicing Lent doesn’t have to be all about giving up,” he said. “You might want to take on something instead.” Not giving up but taking on? I liked that idea.

For inspiration, I looked at the Bible. Specifically the account of Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness. I wanted to know if there was a way to celebrate Lent more biblically. Here is what I found:

Woman praying at home to celebrate lent

1)  Be Led By the Spirit 

As the gospel puts it, “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil” (Matthew 4:1). How often do I allow myself to simply follow the Spirit’s leading? I’m more likely to get wrapped up in to-do lists of my own making.

What if I make following this leading a spiritual goal of my Lenten journey? To listen intently for the Spirit’s voice and not to simply shrug it off, saying, “Geez, I’m too busy for that.” To honor and, more importantly, follow its lead. Here are three ways to open yourself up to God’s voice and celebrate Lent in a deeper way:

  • Talk first – begin yours conversation with God by reaching out through prayer or meditation
  • Get rid of distractions – sit somewhere quiet where you can be alone for a few minutes
  • Start small – ask for God’s help in your day to day life and soon you will recognize His voice

READ MORE: Create an Action Plan to Do Great Things This Lent

Woman sitting and overlooking mountains to celebrate lent

2)  Learn In the Wilderness

Jesus didn’t go into the wilderness for the fun/misery of it. He needed to prepare for His ministry. He needed to grow. My wilderness experiences are things I run away from. The anxieties that crowd my mind, worries that fill it.

But maybe there’s another way to think of them. Maybe a wilderness time—like what we’ve suffered from during the pandemic—is also an opportunity to refocus, recharge, grow. Don’t turn away from those wilderness moments and you will find your Lent celebrations more meaningful.

READ MORE: 10 Ways to Observe a Green Lent

Palm cross on an open Bible showing how to celebrate lent

3)  Turn to Lenten Scripture

When Jesus was tempted by the devil, He fought back using Scripture. Asked to turn the stones into loaves of bread, Jesus answered, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4).

There’s another good way to observe Lent. To immerse myself in Scripture. Every morning during breakfast, instead of looking at my cellphone, I turn to the Psalms and a chapter from one of the Gospels. The cellphone can wait. The good news can’t. Here are three Bible verses about Lent to get your Lent celebrations started:

  • Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you. (1Peter 5:6)
  • Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. (Colossians 2:16-17)
  • Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ …your Heavenly Father knows what you need. (Matthew 6:31-32)

READ MORE: 7 Lent Bible Verses for Reflection and Guidance

Man reading the Bible about how to celebrate lent

4)  Focus On the Commandments

In the final battle, when the devil offered Jesus all the kingdoms of the world, if He would only worship Satan. “Jesus said, ‘Away with you, Satan!’ For it is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve only Him.’” (Matthew 4:10).

Too often I read the commandments and other spiritual prescriptions in the Bible, forgetting what power they have. Look how they changed the whole scenario in the wilderness. What can the commandments teach us and how can we make them a part of our Lenten celebrations?

READ MORE: 20 Beautiful Lent Quotes to Inspire You

Angel statue in a garden during Lent

5)  Accept What the Angels Offer This Lent

According to the Bible, when Jesus went out into the wilderness, “He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him” (Mark 1:12-13). Those angels of God’s mercy are simply waiting for us. Look to them. Open your heart to them. They can appear at the most unexpected of times. No matter how you choose to celebrate Lent, keep an eye out for them.


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