Today: Monday, December 09, 2019

The difference Easter makes    (3/30/2008 )

I grew up in a family where the Christian faith was centre-stage. I was familiar with the events of Easter from a very early age and I grew up to accept Jesus for myself. I never really led a life of riotous abandon. So I'm struggling to quantify what difference Easter has made to me in a way that has tangible meaning.

Look, I know what Jesus did on the cross. I know that in rising from the dead Jesus showed dramatically that death was beaten—we no longer need to fear our demise, because it is not the end. I know that because of what he did, I have been adopted into God's own family. I know all this, but what difference does it make to my life?

Knowing the significance of Jesus' actions is not enough. Knowing it can only take me so far—if I don't respond, then of what use is this knowledge?

If Jesus is God, if he came to earth to die, if he gave himself as a sacrifice clearly demonstrating his love, then I must respond.

It's more than that, though; the truth is that I couldn't live in relationship with him without his death and resurrection—and this needs to change me. Jesus dying and rising again needs to make a difference to me because that's why he did it. Without a tangible response which provokes a marked difference, there is something deeply wrong.

I love my wife. I am always amazed that she loves me! I can't see what I have done to deserve it, but there's plenty that I have done to not deserve it. The fact that she does love me makes me want to demonstrate that I love her. So I try not to do the things I know upset her, I try to do things that please her. Most importantly I try to make sure I have time to spend with her. She has made sacrifices for our family and our relationship and I don't want to blow these back in her face by ignoring her or causing her upset. My decisions and the way I live my life are affected by my relationship with my wife and what she might think or feel.

The difference that Easter makes to me must infect every pore of my being—at least as much as my relationship with my wife does. I need to live a life of love with him; not doing the things that offend him, doing the things that please him. I need to respond to his sacrifice for me through the way I live day to day.

And when I do allow Easter to make even a little difference to my life, this has an amazing impact. I can't help thinking that if all of us who call ourselves Christians allowed Easter really to affect our lives we would have an incredible impact on our society and our world.

So, what difference does Easter make to my life? Far too little... But the challenge for me is to allow Jesus' resurrection life to penetrate more and more of who I am and, in so doing, allowing God to draw me into the wonder of this life he bought at such a cost that first Easter.

Pray: Lord God, we celebrate Easter - in one way or another - every year. Help me to see its significance through new eyes in 2008. Reveal to me a truth about Jesus and the cross which I had never understood before. Help me to see Easter afresh every year. Amen.

Think about: Nick's response to his wife's love for him is simply to love her back - and to show her that he loves her. If Jesus did, in fact, die for you on the cross, what might your response be? Can it be love? And if so, how can you practically live out that love in your daily life - and how can you make sure that God sees it?

Challenge: Decide for yourself how your life will be different after this Easter. Wherever we may be on the spectrum of faith - from 'There's no way that resurrection happened' to 'Jesus died for my sins' - we can all improve our lives. With or without the inspiration and help of God (although the with may be a lot easier than the without!), how will you change your life for the better?

Read: Our article on the meaning of the cross

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