WARNING: Generalizations about a religious practice are about to be made by an outsider!
- I think it's interesting that people who strictly adhere to the "Lent Rules" rarely stick to ACTUAL Biblical rules.
- Suddenly one doesn't eat meat on Fridays, and has strictly given up a vice for 40 days.Giving up something you shouldn't be doing anyway (like drinking, or eating chips) doesn't count. It's not a New Year's Resolution, people.
- Does participating in Lent negate complete disregard for Christ the rest of the year?
I feel like there's more religious chatter this time of year because so many people participate in Lent. Lent is the focus. Lent is the "Reason for the Season."
No. Lent is an "act of deprivation" meant to symbolize the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert before his death on the cross. Lent is an opportunity to spend some time (that you might have used for drinking or eating chips) to pray, meditate, or spend some time in the Word.
What we really should be focusing on this time of year is that Christ died on the cross and was resurrected, thus victorious over death and sin! Our sin has separated us from God, and the consequence of sin is death. Christ has given you freedom from that doom. There are no rules or methods to follow to earn your way to Him. Scripture is clear that salvation is the gracious, undeserved gift of God and is only available through faith in Jesus Christ.
Maybe you should meditate on that for 40 days...