Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Sin, where are your shackles?!

What is Easter to you? 


A reminder of Jesus' sacrifice? 
A time for family, hunting eggs, and the Easter Bunny?
A day to get your men to wear cute colored shirts and maybe a tie?
A time of year for great pictures?
A time to go to church?


This question really makes me think. What DOES Easter mean? For a lot of Christians, Easter is a time to talk about the story of the cross, thank Jesus for his love and sacrifice, and smile over the resurrection. But sometimes I think we forget what we really are celebrating.


We SHOULD focus on the cross. Lord help us if we EVER lose sight of that Ultimate Sacrifice. We should never ever ever stop praising Jesus for that. But Easter isn't just about His death and burial. It's a celebration of VICTORY! It's acknowledging the fact that we serve a Savior that DEATH could not even stop. 


I think sometimes as Christians we make it to the cross, but we never make it to the victory. We don't so much have a problem with humbling ourselves to admit we're desperate, we're sinful, we're dirty, we need to be covered by grace and mercy. We need peace. We need direction. We need hope. We need forgiveness. We'll go that far. We'll kneel at the foot of the cross and mourn over our sins. We'll beg Jesus for His cleansing. We'll will praise Him, cry out to Him, want to hold on to Him. And we should. By all means, we should be brought to our knees before the Love of the Cross EVERY DAY. 


But here's where I think we're missing it--- too often, we want to stay there. We get so comfortable with our brokenness, we learn to live in our guilt, we learn to dwell among mourners, we learn to function in despair, and we never get up. We never truly find the victory. Jesus went to the cross, but he didn't stay on the cross. Jesus died for us, but he didn't stay dead! There was a time for the cross, a time for the grave, but Oh, Christians, THERE WAS A TIME FOR VICTORY!

The Spirit of Christ COULD NOT BE HELD DOWN! Not by nails. Not by hate. Not by law. Not by trouble. Not by suffering. Not by despair. Not by sin.  Not even by DEATH! And what's absolutely CRAZY is that if we have truly encountered the grace of Jesus Christ, that same powerful Spirit is dwelling inside of us! The Spirit that looked at that beaten, bloody, dead body and said, "ARISE! THE GRAVE NO LONGER HAS A HOLD ON YOU!" is the same Spirit that looks at YOUR body and MY body and says, "ARISE! THIS SIN/TROUBLE/HARDSHIP/PERSECUTION/FEAR NO LONGER HAS A HOLD ON YOU!" 


It absolutely breaks my heart to see so many Christians walking around still in their tombs. And so many Christians have this mindset that "I just can't overcome this." And I want to look at them with every bit of passion and love in my heart and scream, "ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?"


The Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead, and in ONE MOMENT overcame EVERY BIT of evil, hardship, oppression, hopelessness in the world, is living INSIDE OF YOU and you say you can't overcome THIS?? Are you kidding me!? Why are we walking around like a bunch of dead people? Why are we still in our tombs? The Spirit overcame DEATH for crying out loud... yet we doubt our ability to overcome our anger, depression, fear, anxiety, unforgiveness, addiciton, obsession, doubtfulness, broken heart, guilt, betrayal, or whatever else our tomb may be? Seriously? Shame on us for doubting the power of Christ. Shame on us for that kind of faithlessness. 


Christ demands our brokenness, our repentance. We HAVE to fall at the foot of the cross. But His glory is not shown in our ability to admit that we are wounded. His glory is show in our ability to overcome those wounds. Christ's love was shown on the Cross, but His GLORY was shown when he looked Satan straight in the eye on that Easter morning and simple said, "I WIN!"


In our lives, His glory is not shown in our fall. His glory is shown in our VICTORY over our fall. When WE look Satan in the eye and say, "NO MORE! I WIN!" 


Maybe this means so much to me because I have seen in SO many ways Christ's victory in MY life. I have walked out of so many tombs... of hurt, betrayal, anger, fear, bitterness, loss, guilt, hopelessness, persecution, unforgiveness. There were so many times when it would have been so easy for me to just stay broken, stay down, stay wounded and just rest in that tomb until the Lord comes back. But no... God did not give us a spirit that's a slave to fear. He gave us a spirit of VICTORY. He has looked at me so many times as I have been on my face, broken before Him, lost in my sin and hurt and simply said, "Child, get up. Overcome." And praise the Lord, I have overcome! Every day, I overcome! 


And anyone with the saving power of Christ in them has this same ability... I don't care how hard it is. How deep you may be in it. How scary it may be. Christians have NO PLACE in the tombs. God's glory is TOO GREAT to be buried in sin, fear, depression, insecurity, etc. We've been set free! We should live that out!


"I have told you these things so that in my you may have peace. In this world you WILL have trouble. But take heart, I have overcome the world." John 16:33


If He has overcome, and He lives in us, WE can overcome! Praise the Lord!


THAT is what Easter means to me.

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