What to Give Up for Lent

Josh Wanner40DOD, Devotions

Today’s reading: Romans 1:8-15; Genesis 18:27

Then Abraham spoke up again: “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes…

Genesis 18:27

Great men of faith, such as Abraham and Paul, realized they were nothing but dust and ashes under the lordship of God. Even as Abraham begged God to spare Sodom from destruction for their sins, he realized his own unworthiness to come before a holy God.

Paul felt an obligation to preach the Gospel to Greeks and non-Greeks, to wise and foolish because he knew they, like himself, had failed to obey God’s law and needed the mercy and forgiveness of a loving God.

During Lent we ponder our sinfulness and our inability to save ourselves from the curse of sin. We don’t literally put dust and ashes on our heads as a sign of repentance, but we feel great sadness for having offended a holy God.

In what ways can we today take seriously our sins and our need to confess them to God? Instead of praying, “Lord, forgive me for all my sins,” maybe we could be a little more thoughtful about just what “all” includes. Praying to rid ourselves of gossiping, complaining or fault-finding might be more helpful than giving up chocolate or lattes for Lent.

And when we think about the gravity of our sin, let’s not forget Good Friday and Easter when, because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, our dust and ashes changed to victory and life.


Dear Lord, our sins have separated us from you. Only you can bridge the gap. Open our eyes to our sins. Give us strength to overcome them. Remind us of your grace and forgiveness in Christ.

Contributed by Karen Seutter