They sounded like dinosaurs. At least according to my four year old. The drums started pounding slowly and quietly, just the bass drum keeping the beat. The musicians added in the other drums, the snare, the tom, and and picked up the intensity. Lights flashed in time with the drums like lightning. Words flashed on the screen: MORNING, FREEDOM, PURE, JOY, LIFE. The tomb was empty! "He is not here; He is risen, just as He said!" (Matthew 28:6). We celebrated that Jesus conquered death and sin once and for all. Easter is truly a reason to celebrate!
But Monday morning, I found myself pondering what else Jesus' death brought us. We are guaranteed eternal life if we believe in Him and accept his sacrifice for us. But what about these days we have left on the earth? I think part of living life abundantly is accepting the other gifts Jesus gave us after He went to Heaven. In order to live in the joy of our salvation, we have to claim these gifts for ourselves.
First, Jesus brought peace. He told the disciples, "I am leaving you with a gift--peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid" (John 14:27). This peace is a precious gift, and once you have experienced it, you know that it is supernatural. Who else can bring peace in times of grief, disease, financial troubles, etc.? This kind of peace is found only in one person, not in any object or amount of security on earth. Jesus is the "path to peace" (Luke 1:79). Knowing Him and spending time in His presence leads us to peace. In His presence "you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:7). Living abundantly means travelling down this path toward peace, allowing the Prince of Peace to guard your hearts and minds.
Secondly, Jesus did not leave us alone. He is not a God that just watches His creation from above. No, before Jesus ascended into heaven, He told His disciples to "not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift He promised, as I told you before. John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit" (Acts 1:4-5). That's right! The third member of the Trinity comes to us and lives in us when we accept Jesus as our Savior! According to 2 Timothy 1:7, the Spirit brings us power, love, and self-discipline. It casts out fear and timidity. The Spirit works in our hearts to produce good fruits: love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). You know I could go on and on about these fruits! I won't. Maybe another day...
How do we take advantage of these things? How do we experience peace and power and all of the fruits of the Spirit? We ask. James 4:2 says, "Yet you don't have what you want because you don't ask." These things are gifts promised to us, so of course God wants to give them to us! "For all of God's promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding 'Yes!'" (2 Corinthians 1:20, emphasis added).
I like that word "resounding." It means "echoing loudly" or "impressively thorough or complete" (www.dictionary.com). May the evidence of Jesus in our lives echo loudly to others. Because through Jesus' work on the cross, our lives are impressively complete.
I've linked up this week at Intentional Tuesday! and RaRaLinkup and #TellHisStory