Millions of people around the world celebrated the resurrection of Christ over the weekend. For many though, the joyful celebration ended after the sermon and life will continue on as normal this week.
But as my pastor says, we are ‘Easter people’. Easter people continue to live out the Easter message, even when the Easter bunny has come and gone, the Easter egg hunts are over and done with and the Easter baskets are found and emptied of their bright yellow peeps. Easter people not only know what the Jesus story says, but they know what it means. Christ was resurrected from the dead so we can have eternal life with God AND resurrection life here on earth.
I love how the Apostle Paul describes this so-called resurrection life: “This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us an unbelievable inheritance!” (Romans 8:17, Message)
The challenge for many is not wanting resurrection life, but how to live it out. How do we practice this resurrection life?
Living the resurrection life is quite simple really. Romans 8:17 tells us it is a gift we receive from God, so we must simply make the choice to receive it. In order to receive it, we must believe it. Too often we get hung up on whether it’s true or not true, or on little details like whether Jesus literally rose from the dead in bodily form or not. It’s not that we shouldn’t ever contemplate these things, but we should never let them distract us from the Truth. The Bible says if we believe in what Jesus did on the cross, we will be ‘raised up’ (John 6:40) to live out the adventurously expectant Christian life through the empowerment of His Spirit.
Choosing to believe is the first step towards living the resurrection life. Here are four other practical steps we can take to make room for Jesus’ resurrection life to manifest fully in our lives:
1. Surrender. We’ve got to surrender our own ways and take up His. This is a conscious decision. Will we continue to go on living according to our own will, or will we allow Him and His Word to direct our path? Matthew 16:25 says, “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.” It is only when we surrender control of our lives and give Him the reigns, that we experience the true fulfillment and satisfaction we long for. This is when His resurrection life can make a home in our hearts, flourishing and bearing fruit in all areas of our lives.
2. Seek. If after attending church on Easter Sunday and you felt no connection, conviction or meaning whatsoever, there is only one thing to do: seek His face! Scripture tells us that he who seeks WILL find (see Matthew 7:8). It is a promise! When I re-committed my life to Christ nearly 5 years ago, there was a lot I didn’t understand about God and why He had to send His son Jesus to die for our sins. So I made it my personal mission to seek out answers. I studied the Bible, read books, asked questions and prayed to God for understanding. The more I sought Him out, the more He revealed Himself to me. Try it… He never breaks a promise!
3. Serve. Part of living the resurrection life is to rely on His empowerment to serve others. Jesus himself said that we would do even greater works than He did because we would have the Holy Spirit living in us (John 14:12). If we have been saved, we have been given the Holy Spirit to dwell within us. It is also important to ask God for the supernatural filling of His Holy Spirit, so that we can most effectively serve the needs of others around us through His power and not our own. God gives each of His children special and specific gifts (Ephesians 4:11-12) through His Holy Spirit, which enable us to complete the works He calls us to do. If you don’t know what your gifts are, pray and ask Him to show you. There are also tests you can take online to help you discover your unique spiritual gifts. Don’t delay!
4. Sow. Scripture tells us when we live to please the Spirit, we will reap life from the Spirit (Galatians 6:8). This means when we sow or invest our time and efforts into things of spiritual value, like loving, forgiving and serving others, spending time studying the Word, praying, and taking good care of our physical bodies, which are temples for the Holy Spirit, this will result in God’s life and character growing inside of us. This makes for a Christian life that is not dead or boring, but vibrant and alive in Him!
These are just a few practical things we can do to help us live out to the very fullest, the resurrection life Christ promised us through His finished work on the cross. What will your response to Easter be this year? Will you go on living your normal life, or will you take steps to make His resurrection a reality?
*Ponder this: the very same power that raised Jesus from the dead is residing within YOU this moment. What are you going to do about it?