I recently wrote an article reflecting on the Easter message and the importance of living in the power of Jesus’ resurrection. Do check that out if you haven’t read it yet!
However, I realised it could be easy to say this in theory, but what does this mean in practice? Here are some of my thoughts on how to live this out in our day-to-day life.
1) LAMENT WELL
Focusing on the truth of Jesus’ resurrection does not mean we are those ‘happy clappy’ Christians that ignore hard things and concentrate just on the positives. A resurrection mindset is powerful because it sees pain, suffering and injustice and laments it. Then, it refocuses on God’s restoration plan and Jesus’ ultimate eternal victory over death.
So how do we lament? We see Jesus grieve when his great friend Lazarus dies in John 11. Jesus cared for Lazarus as he was described as ‘the one you [Jesus] love’ (v.3). Jesus also knows that Lazarus will not die, as ‘the illness will not end in death’ (v.4). So then why does Jesus weep? Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days, yet ‘Jesus wept’ (v.35).
Even though Jesus knew what would happen (spoiler: Jesus calls for Lazarus to come out, and the dead man came out of the tomb in v.43), he understood Mary’s emotions. He joined in, showing his lament over death, and signifying to the Jews that he deeply cared. How incredible is it that our great high priest has experienced and understands human grief!
We can sometimes repress feelings by putting a plaster over them ‘Jesus is on the throne’ or trying to encourage others that regardless, ‘God’s will be done’. Here Jesus models to us what it means to lament and sit in pain.
2) BRING YOUR DOUBTS TO JESUS
I don’t always ‘feel’ the power of the resurrection for the world. I know it as Biblical truth, and I am confident Jesus is coming back to judge the living and the dead and bring a new kingdom (new heaven and earth). However, I often can look at reality and feel that resurrection power is for sometime later, rather than now.
After Jesus rose again and the disciples proclaimed he was alive, Thomas – often coined as ‘doubting Thomas’ – was still hesitant. In John 20:24-29, Thomas boldly states that ‘unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe’. Jesus, in his kindness, allows Thomas to feel the nail marks in his hand and pierced side to prove that he truly is the risen Christ. However, Jesus does say, ‘because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed’ (v.29).
If you doubt that Jesus has overcome the world (John 16:33) or that God is working for our good amid this world (Romans 8:28), then take your doubts and concerns to God. He wants to show you His perspective. This is not the end of the story.
By Thomas feeling Jesus’ hands and sides, he experienced a deeper intimacy with Jesus that came out of doubt – enter into that dialogue with God about all of your thoughts. The Bible promises that when you draw near to God, He will draw near to you (James 4:8).
You can also share with a close friend or wise trusted Christian you know about your doubts and allow them to show you Jesus’ truth in the midst of them.
3) DECLARE THE BATTLE IS ALREADY WON
At the Justice Conference in March, we sang a powerful song at the end of the Manchester event. Some standout lyrics were ‘I’m gonna see a victory’ and ‘the battle belongs to you Lord’. We know the power of life and death on the tongue (Proverbs 18:21), so let’s speak about life over this world. Let’s declare restoration, God’s goodness, system change and for God’s kingdom to come.
Use scripture to shape your prayers and declarations. Ask God to show you one scripture to pray over a specific nation, topic or person in your heart. I like to remind myself regularly of Isaiah 9:7 as it reminds me that the kingdom is always advancing. We are always on the side of victory, hope and justice as Christians because we are on the side of Jesus.
‘Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
will accomplish this.’
4) UNDERSTAND THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
As Jesus ascended in John 16, he said he would send the advocate (the Holy Spirit, the helper) who was far greater than He. Let’s not do justice in our own strength, no human can cause world change. But nothing is impossible with God.
John 16:5-15 reminds us why the Holy Spirit is powerful to partner with. Meditate on this and keep choosing to rely on the Holy Spirit.
‘Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgement: about sin, because people do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and about judgement, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.’
We have the same spirit that raised Jesus from the dead (Romans 8:11). Let’s move and partner with the Holy Spirit!
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