Yesterday, we mourned that moment when Jesus surrendered His life on the cross so that we might have eternal life. Our hearts break as we imagine the pain not only of the vicious brutality He endured at the hands of his captors, but the soul crushing weight of every sin committed by every sinner over the span of time. We kneel in humble forgiveness for our self-absorbed distractions, our daily struggles with doubt and unforgiveness, and our too often weak faith.
As I sat in my house late on Thursday night, tears pouring out as I watched The Passion of the Christ again, I wanted to be uncomfortable. My heart needed that visual reminder of the unspeakable pain Jesus endured. Because He knew these days of torture would result in eternal freedom for every soul who accepted His extravagant gift, He stayed on that cross.
As I went to sleep that night, I began to feel this question burrowing in my spirit: Are we living in the abundance of Jesus’ audacious sacrifice? In every area of our lives, are we truly living in the freedom His life brought us?
John 10:10 says: The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
- Are we walking in the mercy He provides us? Or do we hide our light in the shadow of our shame? Micah 7: 18-19
- Do we speak with the Authority He has given us through the blood of Jesus? The enemy must flee at even the whisper of Jesus. Do we shout his name when fear comes to cripple? When comparison eats away at our confidence? Do we make time to share our hearts with Jesus so that He can build confidence in us? 2 Timothy 1:6-7
- Are we resting in His peace? Or do we allow daily issues to create chaos and stress in our lives? John 14:27
- Are we standing on His faithfulness? Do we fully trust that He is for us and not against us? Do we firmly believe that He is with us, even in the hard times? Lam 3:22
- Are our days filled with the strength of His joy? He delights in our laughter and knows we find strength in community with others. 1 Chron. 16:27
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. –Jeremiah 29:11-12
When we wrap our hearts and heads around this idea that He formed us with a plan in mind, things begin to change. The mundane becomes electric with opportunities to love and encourage others. Serving others feels like the best kind of blessing. Our ability to be easily offended washes away in ripples of grace.
As we move from not just active surrender, but to true brokenness, walls break down. We begin to sense His authority rising up. Our hearts feel an excitement for a future that isn’t yet clear, usually following a long walk down a road paved with potholes that only He can mend. Knowing that we belong to Him is the beginning of freedom.
Tomorrow, in churches and homes all around the world, we will celebrate our Risen King. He overcame death to give us eternal life. He bore our sins so that every wrong could be cast into the sea of forgetfulness. He paid the ultimate price so that we could live free from the bondage of our pasts and shower love on the lost and hurting. It is my fervent prayer that as we usher in His presence this weekend, we boldly accept the gift Jesus gave us and live in the full measure of His gifts so that we might be a bright light in the world.
“When did we start believing that God wants to send us to safe places to do easy things? Jesus didn’t die to keep us safe. He died to make us dangerous.”-Mark Batterson