Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Resurrection Power

Sunday  was a wonderful celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He is the only religious leader who died but is not in His grave, therefore proving that He is God. He died for our sins just as was illustrated in the Old Testament sacrifices of Israel.  The sacrifice of an animal was the precursor to the perfect lamb of God, Jesus Christ. Who died for us so that we might enjoy the gracious privilege of God’s life transforming power so that we might become all that God has always designed us to be.
   Mark Crocco delivered his usual great message as he challenged us to celebrate not only the resurrection of Jesus Christ but also the indwelling resurrection power of the resurrected Christ that comes to those who put their trust in Jesus Christ.:
(Colossians 3:1-4)  Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. {2} Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. {3} For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. {4} When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

And similarly this prayer for the Ephesians by the Apostle Paul:

(Ephesians 3:16-20)  I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, {17} so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, {18} may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, {19} and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. {20} Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,

So you see salvation in the Christian faith is not just salvation from condemnation from sin but it is also about life transformation by the indwelling resurrection power of Jesus Christ.

So why are not more Christians experiencing and evidencing this resurrection power? I believe it has a lot to do with the definition of faith that I have shared with you before on this blog. And since repetition is the mother of learning, here it is again:
    Faith is my choice to make what God has revealed in His Word my truth and reality in spite of my feelings, my circumstances, or what my culture tries to impose upon me.

At the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry and after spending 40 days in the wilderness fasting, Satan came to him and tempted Him to satisfy his own human needs by displaying His divine powers by turning stones to bread. Jesus reply was to cite God’s Word from the book of Deuteronomy in the Old Testament:

(Matthew 4:4)  Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"

In other words, God’s Word was His truth and reality by which He had chosen to live. Life for Jesus was lived by the Word of God.
You have probably heard like I have, the phrase, “you just have to have faith.” Faith in what! Faith always has to have an object. In my case it certainly isn’t in my human will power. If you want to have the best faith, the most reliable faith, faith that will carry you through the up and down times, then you need to put your trust in the transcendent omnipotent God who has proved His perfect love through Jesus Christ.

   So how does this internal resurrection power work in the practical issues of everyday life?

Allow me to illustrate personally and transparently. On Monday, Dottie and I were headed to Swedesboro for a medical appointment. The sun was out so Dottie had the sun roof open. Sunwas streaming in heating things up and it was also glaring in my eyes. I asked if she could close the sun roof at least the open unshaded part. She replyed that the natural vitamin D was good for me. My counter, “You try sitting here getting heated up , the sun glaring in your eyes, squinting causing a headache. You would have to have been there to also hear the tone of voice.
    So where was the resurrection power of Jesus Christ? I can tell you that I didn’t think of it. That is no excuse. Neither is the excuse of a certain nationality, or “that’s just the way I am.”  As a believer in Jesus Christ your personality is                              Being conformed to the character of JesusChrist. You have been set free from the dominance of your old nature, the flesh. You are free to follow the impulses of the Holy Spirit. I am not under obligation to respond to Dottie the way I did. If I had stopped and thought a out what I was to say, no  matterhow much emotional power tried to persuade me to say what I did, I have indwelling resurrection power to respond according to the fruit of the Spirit. This freedom and power is the truth and reality I have to live by regardless of my feelings, circumstances and cultural influence.  If like me, for too long we have believed the lie that the power of our emotions are to dictate our talk, response to temptation, our thoughts, and our actions. But now, as I live. It is a choice I make whom to trust and by whom His Words I choose to live and his Words alone.   Check your thoughts and choices. What is the basis of your truth and reality?

The next time you are about to respond, pause and think (always a good idea according to James.

(James 1:19)  My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, Will you join me in this journey of living by the truth and reality of God’s Word alone. Email me and let me know how you are doing.

1 comment:

Michael said...

Thanks, Joel, for the good reminder that the resurrection power is available every day for every word I choose to speak- not just for the big challenges that come every once in a while. I want to choose now to trust Him in my speech, my thoughts, my attitudes. God bless you, dear brother. You are in our prayers. Love, Debbie