The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
— 1 Corinthians 15:56-58
According to the calendar, Resurrection Day (Easter Sunday) happens just once a year. But it’s something we would do well in observing every day of our lives.
The culmination of Holy Week, Resurrection Day unites believers the world over, in celebration of a risen Christ who died for our sins and triumphed over death. For this we rejoice, because we have a hope. We have a future. And we will live with our Lord for eternity. Amen!
So why then, during the other 364 days, don’t we live like we know and believe this with our whole hearts?
Well, if it made us feel more comfortable and was easier, then we probably would. I mean, really. Do you wake up every single morning and remember to thank God first thing that he cancelled your debt? Paid for your sins? Wiped your slate clean?
For me, it doesn’t immediately come to mind as I’m reaching to turn off my alarm. No, I’m usually thinking of hot coffee, first. A toasted bagel, second. Followed by a quick trip down the hall to the smallest room (which shall remain nameless) in my house.
But my humanity and forgetfulness do not excuse my sinfulness and my lack of devotion to a risen Lord. No, what should really be going on is a daily observance of Resurrection Day in my heart: Christ died for me. Now, how will I live for him TODAY?
As singles, it is perhaps easier to not live in light of this illuminating event which changed the course of history for all mankind. It is far easier to stay in the shadows, especially since we don’t have the extremely up-close-and-personal contact that our married friends do. We may have roommates who are like family and “closer than a brother,” but we don’t live with spouses who help unmask our hearts and show us our true selves, so that we are confronted with our sinfulness.
In his best-selling book, Sacred Marriage, author Gary Thomas describes it like this:
“What marriage has done for me is hold up a mirror to my sin. It forces me to face myself honestly and consider my character flaws, selfishness, and anti-Christian attitudes, encouraging me to be sanctified and cleansed and to grow in godliness.”
Ouch. No one likes to be exposed, to have the bandages and scabs ripped off. But that’s how healing begins. Infection needs to be identified and treated. New skin covers what has been restored. And our health then improves.
Considering ourselves in light of the Resurrection works the same way. To live for Christ in response to what he has done for us, the Holy Spirit must be up-close-and-personal and at work in our lives. He both circumcises and comforts, so that we will live vibrant and healthy lives for Christ.
But what will it take for that to happen? How can we learn to die to self? With 1 Corinthians 15:56-58 as our guide, we can learn to live out every day in light of Resurrection Day. Here are seven ways to get started …
Recognize your sin for what it is. When you closely examine your own sinfulness, that’s when you realize what’s really going on in your heart. It’s very easy to think “I’m a good person.” But are you? Really? If others knew your thoughts and motives, would they think the same? When the Holy Spirit goes to work in our lives, he exposes and convicts us so that we will change.
Keep a proper perspective of your state. He is God. And we are not. In your day-to-day decisions, how often do you consult your heavenly Father? Is it just a weekly occurrence in prayer time at Bible study or in your Sunday School class? Or an infrequent, arrow prayer whenever you’re in a jam and need some speedy heavenly help? What would your life look like if you submitted everything to God at all times?
Give thanks where it is due … to God! Do you begin each day with thanksgiving? When you wake up, do you immediately count your blessings? When you grumble and complain, do you try to counteract that by focusing on the good in your life? Will you choose to count everything joy because God is God, and he is Jehovah Jireh?
Worship the One who saved you. What are your current debts? A mortgage? A car note? School loans? If someone paid off your costliest obligation, how would you feel? What about the One who has paid the biggest amount of all—your spiritual debt? You could never pay for it yourself. So give your worship, adoration and praise to the risen Lord who has. He died in your place, and his blood has covered your sins.
Keep your focus and don’t waiver. What gets you off course in your life? Certain friendships? Entertainment choices? Emotional issues? Bad habits? What obstacles are getting in your way and preventing you from living a life that responds to the Resurrection? Remember that in Christ, you are a new creation. You are no longer dead in your transgressions. Leave the past behind, throw off whatever hinders you and live for Christ!
Put God first and give him your all. God put us first. He gave us his firstfruits, his son Jesus Christ, who died for our sins. What are your firstfruits to God? What are you giving him as a sign that your life belongs to him? Do your priorities, your schedule and your checkbook reflect your desire to put him first in your life? Do they show that he is Lord of your life?
- Be heavenly minded while on earth. “You’re so heavenly minded, and you’re no earthly good.” Yes, it takes effort to not get lost in the clouds and to put hands and feet to our faith. What we do here on earth does matter, so do pursue the eternal while doing some earthly good. What is your part in reaching others with the Good News? Are you following Christ’s example of devotion to you (on the cross) as you serve others?
‘I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!’ (Gal. 2:20-21)