Easter is right around the corner and it’s the time of year when we meditate on the meaning and gift we have been given through Jesus’ death and resurrection. As this significant holiday approaches, the question that has been rattling around in my head is: How has Jesus’ death and resurrection changed your life?
While it is important to consider and appreciate the agony that Jesus endured on our behalf, what matters the most about the gift of Jesus is how we apply the freedom he offers us from sin and death to our lives. Men die hard deaths every day, so what makes the one Jesus endured so special?
Two Reasons Jesus’ Death Stands Apart
The answer to that question is really the centerpiece of the Christian faith. It’s what changes Jesus from being a prophet, smart guy, or a crazy man to the living, breathing, Son of God. There are two central reasons that Jesus is different; first is that he was raised back to life from the dead. No other prophet, good guy, or magician has been able to master that trick. Jesus proves his divine position by defying the laws of this world in an unimaginable way. The second reason is the why of his life, suffering, death, and resurrection.
If Jesus only came to display his divine power to humans so we would worship him, then maybe our need for him in our lives as a personal savior would be diminished. He would be just like those cruel Greek and Roman gods that only had their pride and self-interest in mind. Jesus is different because he clearly tells us about the purpose behind his action. John 3:16 tells us, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
God came so that we could be saved. He offered his life as payment for the sin that we all commit so that we can engage in a relationship with a righteous and loving God. He came so we no longer have to live in fear of death, but could trust him to give us an eternal home in Heaven. He came because he so loved his precious creation! Jesus’ existence on Earth is a gracious invitation to all of humanity to engage in a real, life-changing, and eternity-impacting relationship with the one true living God!
How Knowing Jesus Changes Our Lives
This Easter is not about rituals, Easter egg hunts (although they are so fun), or even perfectly produced church services! Easter is about how we in our hearts respond to the extravagant invitation Jesus extends through his story to each and every one of us to join his family. If you don’t know Jesus, all you have to do is respond to his invite with a faith-filled prayer of surrender. Ask him to be your leader, your Father, your friend, your first love, and that’s all it takes to be in the family. If we have been in the family for a while, we need to be thinking about how knowing Jesus has changed our lives.
We need to be telling the story of how Jesus has changed us, so the next generation, our friends, and our family might come to believe.
I was reminded of how powerful a story can be the other day. I told the story of how we became foster parents to a friend. I shared that a few years back we asked God how to be better doers of the Word, and he led us to foster care and adoption. God miraculously provided a larger home for us. God has given us a strong community to rely on, amazing social workers, and peace for the long, hard moments.
In this season, he led us to start an outreach ministry supporting foster care, kinship care, and adoption in our community. Through an extraordinary series of events God miraculously provided all we needed (supplies, a location, connections, and more) to provide essential kits to children and families involved in foster care in our community. By God’s grace, we were able to jump in and create an organization called The Village of RVA.
As I shared miracle after miracle with my friend, she was blown away by what God had done, and honestly, so was I! It wasn’t until I started sharing my story that I could truly appreciate how knowing God had changed my life in so many amazing ways.
I think sharing your lived experience with the Creator of the universe is more powerful than perfectly aligned theology. More than anything people want to hear how knowing God has changed you. Change is that thing we all are chasing after but struggle to accomplish. We all struggle to live the lives we desire because of sin. Most real change only happens with the power of the Holy Spirit at work in our lives.
This Easter, Consider How He Has Changed Your Life
This Easter as you prepare your home, heart, and family for the celebration of Jesus’ death and resurrection, I challenge you to pause and consider all the ways truly knowing God has changed your life. How has he shown up and made a way when there was no way? How has he provided for your family? Health? Finances? Community? First, take time to write these things down. Meditate on how God has been faithful to you and thank him not only for dying for you but also for being present and active in your life.
Next, share that story with your children, co-workers, friends, or even a stranger. Nothing encourages other believers more than hearing the good works of God in this world. Your story also has the power to point those around you who are searching for a real, active, and loving God.
Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the Word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” These words are a reminder that we serve a God who is ALIVE. Sometimes we forget that the story is still being written and that our God deserves to bring Heaven down to Earth through the lives of his people. God is moving, don’t miss it! Let the story of your life be one that glorifies God in every season.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Abimelec Olan
Amanda Idleman is a writer whose passion is to encourage others to live joyfully. She writes devotions for My Daily Bible Verse Devotional and Podcast, Crosswalk Couples Devotional, the Daily Devotional App, she has work published with Her View from Home, on the MOPS Blog, and is a regular contributor for Crosswalk.com. You can find out more about Amanda on her Facebook Page or follow her on Instagram.