Saturday, March 26, 2016

What Does it Matter? What the Resurrection Means Today

At our Good Friday service, Pastor Tim Waldron asked, "What difference does the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ make in your life?"

In the quiet moments between remembering His death and celebrating His resurrection, I made a list of what life would feel like if I did not live in the reality of Christ's death and resurrection (I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below--this is not a comprehensive list):
  • I would look for meaning but fail to find "it." Driven by the desire to add value, gain other's approval, possessions, have fun, be entertained, and experience "wow," my life would pass, but with no eternal, godly value.
  • I would lie awake at night in hopeless despair about tomorrow, next week, next year.
  • I would feel pressure to solve all my problems: paying bills, raising children, resolving conflict, keeping my world safe and comfortable.
  • I would chase distractions. I wouldn't want to be confronted with death or the idea of eternal judgment.
  • I would feel very alone. Even in my marriage, with my family, children and best friends there would be a sense of isolation and exposure.
  • I would be caught up in painful memories. The past would haunt me. I would wonder why they happened and how or if I could have changed the outcome. My days would be filled with avoiding similar circumstances and situations.
  • I would seek laughter. I would create opportunities to express mirth: sarcasm, rude comments, cynical remarks, mocking and scorn.
  • I would vacillate between being overly busy and slothful. I would work my mind and body until it couldn't function then check out for long periods of time, avoiding thoughts of the past and future, but caught in worry and anxiety.

That's me and my limited, sinful human tendencies played out in a life without Christ. And to be honest, even now I struggle with sin, failure and shame. But because of what Jesus did for me on the cross, I can go to Him and He will help me. He's just that big, that able, that caring, and that willing.

Because of Jesus' death for my sin and His resurrection from the grave:
  • My life has meaning, purpose and value because everything about Him has eternal meaning, purpose and value. Even as I live on earth, I'm laying up treasure in heaven. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:20-21, 1 Corinthians 3:10-15)
  • I sleep peacefully and completely, because God's got my back.  In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety. (Psalm 4:8), In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat—for he grants sleep to those he loves. (Psalm 127:2)
  • I have a responsibility to love God and my neighbor, to trust and praise God. He, however, is sovereign over all and promises to take care of me. He knows my needs and meets them.  He's all-seeing, all-knowing and all-powerful. For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:25-34)
  • I have no fear of the future, of death or judgment because Jesus has been there and taken its punishment in my place. Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. 19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous. (Romans 5:18-19)
  • I am never alone. Even in the darkest, most painful times of life, God is by my side; He is everywhere present. "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  (Matthew 28:20) content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
     Hebrews 13:5)
  • I still struggle with the past and pain, but as I read God's Word and submit to His design for my life I find peace, comfort and purpose in His will and way. He is eternal, knowing the end from the beginning. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14)
  • My life is characterized by laughter. I take joy in the formation of the clouds, in the interactions of children, the beauty of daily life. I don't need to create laughter, it's all around me. God is a God of goodness, purity and joy. You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Psalm 16:11)
  • I am content with busyness and rest. I trust God with a day of rest each week, in illness, unplanned interruptions, demands, or emptiness. God knows and plans and uses and designs all things. Nothing happens without His say so. ...all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! (Psalm 139:15-16)
What difference does Jesus' death and resurrection make? All the difference in the world. As the disciple, Peter, said, "“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:68-69) And in knowing, in believing and doing, we find hope.

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