Lutherans often joke about how Lent is really their season. Self-denial, self-deprecation, and the like seems to go along well with some strands of Lutheranism, especially those of a more pietist strain. Self-denial, of course, is not pietism. But the way self-denial is practiced today more often resembles the pharisees and their inheritors, the pietists, than it does anything else.
What I find difficult about Lent is that I often use things as crutches to get through the day. Food, drink, sex, etc., they all serve as distractions, and gifts from God to help us through daily life. Hopefully it is done so in a godly manner, but as we all know, sin continues to have its way with us.
So I will freely confess that I really have a hard time giving things up for Lent. Yes, I know. our Lord fasted, and we should fast. We don’t fast to earn God’s favor, but to draw ourselves in to His holy suffering, and to mortify the flesh.
I know all the right answers, but I just don’t want to do it. I just don’t, and no amount of piety or wishing seems to change that for me.
In the meantime, we pray, we watch, we wait, and we hope for the coming of our Savior.
Maranatha, Lord. Come quickly to help us.