Shall we lay down our lives?
Surrounded then as we are by these serried ranks of witnesses, let us strip off everything that hinders us, as well as the sin which dogs our feet, and let us run the race that we have to run with patience, our eyes fixed on Jesus the source and the goal of our faith. For he himself endured a cross and thought nothing of its shame because of the joy he knew would follow his suffering; and he is now seated at the right hand of God’s throne. Think constantly of him enduring all that sinful men could say against him and you will not lose your purpose or your courage.
What is our purpose?
“The first and most important one is this,” Jesus replied—‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind, and with all your strength’. The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself’. No other commandment is greater than these.”
And what does Jesus and His greatest sacrifice of love show us?
Consider the incredible love that the Father has shown us in allowing us to be called “children of God”—and that is not just what we are called, but what we are. Our heredity on the Godward side is no mere figure of speech—which explains why the world will no more recognise us than it recognised Christ.
1 John 3:1
Our traditional annual celebrations of Easter should be part of each new day. You and me and all of us grateful to God, always obedient. Sacrificing our self-indulgent sinfulness to honor God more fully.
Doing so daily leads to purging of our dreadful sins. And if we are brave enough to look closely at our own heart first before finding specks in another’s we may see that we have much to crucify.
He made himself what he is by deathing himself into the will of the eternal Father, through which will he was the eternal Son — thus plunging into the fountain of his own life, the everlasting Fatherhood, and taking the Godhead of the Son…This life, self-willed in Jesus, is the one thing that makes such life — the eternal life, the true life — possible, imperative, essential, to every man, woman, and child. The Father has sent us all into this outer world that we may go back into the inner world of his own heart. As the self-existent life of the Father has given us being, so the willed devotion of Jesus is his power to give us eternal life like his own — to enable us to do the same…We must choose to be of God, to be one with God. We must choose to love and live as he loves and lives…
George MacDonald, Your Life in Christ, Unspoken Sermons
Choosing to obey God will be no more a drudgery when we understand how desperately God loves us. As we absorb His love into every cell of our being our hearts transform.
We desire to be like Him and to please Him.
We kill our resentments. And hypocrisy.
Battles with sin go on, but the deepest fibers of our hearts are rewoven moment my moment. Resurrection new.
And to this Jesus replied, “When a man loves me, he follows my teaching. Then my Father will love him, and we will come to that man and make our home within him. The man who does not really love me will not follow my teaching. Indeed, what you are hearing from me now is not really my saying, but comes from the Father who sent me.
Growing in His love makes us to want to obey all God’s commands as we delight in knowing that He is God and He is good and He is very good to us and we increase in love, purity, humility, righteousness, forgiveness, trust, honesty, obedience, joy and the abiding life.
Will you will your heart to nail your sins and start really living? With simple, childlike faith? Humbly? With joy and peace? Free?
I leave behind with you peace…You must not be distressed and you must not be daunted. You have heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you really loved me, you would be glad because I am going to my Father, for the Father is greater than I. And I have told you of it now, before it happens, so that when it does happen, your faith in me will not be shaken…I go on my way to show the world that I love the Father and do what he sent me to do…
As we choose to cooperate with and thereby become more like Christ — in essence doing what God wants us to do — our sanctification and healing flow making our Father smile. On Easter! Always!
So let’s remember all Christ has done and celebrate as disciples as true in our hearts as we can be all. the. time. And from those hearts will gush streams of water washed by the Word bringing light and love and life to those still captive.
Allowing for poetic license, I sometimes feel like a tiny Jesuschick whose been sitting too long in a pretty pastel shell and I’m breaking free as the Spirit is beckoning me into new life. Real life. Again and again with each new day. And my heart expanding obedient and willing.
What about you?
As you ponder deep in your heart — especially over the next few days before Easter — may quiet blessings of grace and gratitude fill you.
Then may your heart blaze with beautiful resurrection power that propels you to reflect the Son more and more in your thinking, your words, your relationships.
With loud, joyful, happy celebrating!
Especially when Sunday dawns…
Egg photo compliments of Stylipics.com