My life has been a variety of ups and downs this past year. From finishing up my time in New Life, moving to New York and back, and the beginning and ending of a serious relationship, there’s been a lot that’s gone on. In retrospect, I think it’s important for me to spend time reflecting on Easter and what it means in my life.
The meaning of Easter, rather than Christmas, is really the center of what Christianity is all about. Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection is the climax to the world’s story, the sacrificial love that makes everything that is good and wonderful in all of eternity possible. What we celebrate this weekend is what defines my life, what defines me. Jesus paid for me and my sins however-many-thousand years ago, and when I surrendered my life to Him, I became a part of that story as He entered my heart and made me into a new creation.
My testimony is not one of turning from the end of my rope in my rebellious life to God. I was “saved” when I was very young, and no matter when it became real, I can’t remember a time (save when I was a child and still just thought of God in child-like superhero vision) when I ever lived without God, or didn’t want to follow Him. He has just always been a part of my life, at least every bit I can recollect.
Because of that, sometimes it was hard for me to really understand the depth of what God had done on the cross for me. Since I can’t remember not being a Christian, I don’t know how it feels to be lost in sin. As far as I can recall, I’ve always lived in the forgiveness of Christ. I’m not trying to say this in any way self-righteously; I’m no better than anyone else. And recently I’ve been discovering that firsthand.
I’ve gone through a lot of very difficult times and struggles this last year. I had opportunities for my character to be put to the test, REALLY put to the test, and as I look back on the year, I see and remember so many times when I failed.
I’ve seen myself in so many black ways this year. I had many dreams of things I could do as a leader, but when the opportunity came, fear, pressure and stress got to me, debilitating me in my role and placing extra stress and responsibility on those under me. I have seen selfishness well up in me in a very real way that has affected others at every turn; usually it shows up in the form of succumbing to weakness and fear, rather than any form of maliciousness or anger. I always mean well, but strength fails me and I am overcome with sinful and selfish desires. I justify my actions and go back on promises. I dwell in insecurities and look to protect myself first. I believe one thing but follow another. I hear God’s voice but then doubt and follow a different urge. My sin nature seems to run rampant, and sometimes it feels like I can never be whole or pure or righteous again.
But that’s exactly what Easter is about. That’s exactly why Jesus died on the cross. He took my sin and my pride and my selfishness upon His shoulders, became that darkness, and paid the price for it once and for all. Not only the sins from when I was born to when I was saved, but every single thing after that. When I got saved? God had already paid for and forgiven my sins of 2014! Each moment of weakness and indulgence in the future for me has already been covered by Jesus’ blood!
I am a new creation. I am the righteousness of Christ. I am cleansed by His blood, I am redeemed. No matter how I am tempted to see myself through sin-tainted eyes, God has given me the mind of Christ, and I am able to see myself how He sees me: forgiven, pure, holy.
Jesus’ resurrection is a sign of new beginnings. His plan that He fulfilled on earth sparked the coming of the Holy Spirit, the forming of the church, and the creation of the new nature we find in Christ.
As I embark on this next phase of my life, whatever that is, I can rest assured that Christ is with me. He gives me the strength to go on. He’ll guide me gently and faithfully through the healing process. He’s right beside me when I cry myself to sleep at night from loneliness. He’s the joy in my day when I walk through the park and just enjoy His presence and His creation. He is the meaning to my life in both the good and the bad. And I love Him so, so dearly for it. Thank You, Jesus, for the deep love You displayed for me on the cross a bajillion-give-or-take-a-few years ago. 🙂 Have a Happy Easter, everyone.