Many followers of Jesus have entered into a season known as Lent. This is a period of 40 days with one purpose; to prepare for a remembrance and celebration of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. Some use fasting while others undertake a reading or prayer challenge and attend special services designed to help them focus on the Lord’s sacrifice. All these practices may be established by tradition but they can be helpful as long as we do not lose the focus; Jesus. Anything of self sacrifice that is done to draw attention to self is idolatry; therefore, it is absolutely crucial to remain focused on Jesus. Hear the words of Jesus; “16 “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matt. 6:16-18 NIV)
Our faith in Jesus must be rooted in one thing; His resurrection. If our faith is based in the works we do or sacrifices we make we again walk dangerously close to the line of idolatry. On the contrary, our works, sacrifice and celebration, victories, prayers, worship are all an outflow of faith in God and our confidence in his, and OUR resurrection. Noted scholar Mark Moore put it this way; “This is the crux of Christianity – not whether Jesus died on a cross but whether he rose from the dead. Indeed, the whole Christian religion rises or falls on this question. Paul put it this way, "If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile . . . we are to be pitied more than all men” (1 Cor 15:17, 19). Thus, whether or not Jesus rose from the dead is the central question we must answer to determine if faith in Christ is well-founded or a farce. “ (http://markmoore.org/resources/essays/resurrection.shtml)
Here’s this preacher’s point; embrace the traditions of faith but keep focused on the reason for our hope; Jesus.