Power to Live

In a recent conversation with friends, a topic that has been taking shape in my thinking came up. Resurrection life with God, a present daily reality at work within us because of the gift we have received from Him. Jesus declared, “I am the resurrection.” And because resurrection life is found in Jesus and He is alive within us, the work of His power that raised Jesus from death will also be at work within us. Consider this carefully. I mentioned in a previous post HERE that everything starts with Jesus.

“This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike ‘What’s next Papa’ ” [1]

He must increase

The quality of God’s new life acts powerfully to transform us on the inside as we lay down our lives for His sake. John the Baptist puts it succinctly, “He must increase while I must decrease.” This is God’s remedy to our dilemma of brokenness because resurrection life opens up the way for us to live within a whole new dimension of His grace each day. As God’s resurrection life works through His Church in acts of self-sacrifice and loving compassion it becomes clear that He is at work within society extending His Kingdom.

“Do everything readily and cheerfully – no bickering, no second-guessing allowed! Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God.” [2]

Our response to God’s daily prompts can be described as walking in step with Him. Old ways die and new resurrection qualities form. Well-worn paths change while new and adventurous options open up to us. The choices we make in obedience to His tender voice draw us forward into a new way of thinking and living. Not through our own smart methods because His ways are always best. It is clear that the books written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John give us first-hand insights into the ‘how’ we, as followers of Jesus are called to live and demonstrate His resurrection ways.

Resurrection quality

Following Him has a price tag that transforms us and reflects the life and love of Jesus to a skeptical world. In the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die.” Challenging times and puzzling events can be part of that maturing process. Yet, He patiently speaks to those who have an ear to hear His voice. “I am with you!” “Trust Me!” “My sheep hear My voice.” Resurrection life opens our eyes to the vast world of His kingdom and births encouragement to help us break out of sameness, obligation, fear, and anxiety in order to show forth His life and purpose within society.

The Ways of God in Delay

The beauty and power of resurrection are described in the story of Lazarus. As is the lesson of what it means to walk by the Spirit. Lazarus of Bethany was very ill and the two sisters Mary and Martha called for Jesus to come to the aid of their sick brother. Oddly, when Jesus received the message to come He stayed where He was for another two days. Significant insight into God’s ways!

Our response to need is often to act immediately and, get it sorted out quickly. A friend of ours used to say, “the ‘stops‘ of a good man are ordered by the Lord.” Here we are told that Jesus waited. And two days later He announced, “Let’s go back to Judea.” [3]

Surprised by the Future

His disciples were horrified, “Rabbi, you can’t do that. The Jews are out to kill you, and you’re going back?” Again, we are being taught what it means to obey God rather than man. Our eternal Father knows what is best and the Son only does what He hears His Father tell Him. As Christians, we are called to live in this same way. The practice of resurrection is an open invitation to live eternity in time. As we return to the story of Lazarus we discover a lesson in human nature and resurrection life. Martha said, “If you’d been here.”

We can almost feel the pain and disappointment in this story. Her brother had died and Jesus was not there. Why had He allowed this awful thing to happen? And then the surprise. God delights in surprising us as He did Martha. Jesus met the problem just as He does with us as well when faced with hopeless circumstances. Lazarus was resurrected. He meets the pain and fear and the disappointments with some new part of God’s future that can and will burst into our own grief and mess with Good News, fresh hope, and eternal possibilities. Resurrection life!

[1] Romans 8:15 The Message

[2] Philippians 2:14 The Message

[3] John 11 The story of Lazarus.