I hope you all had a wonderful Easter Day; mine was amazing as I was able to celebrate with my first grandchild. Plus, I just love celebrating the resurrection of my Lord and Savior and remembering the promises it contains for all who follow Him.
Because of that resurrection I have the promise that I will have life everlasting and the promise of walking on streets of gold with my Savior. Plus, until then, I have the promise that my spirit is getting better every day!
As I woke up today, however, the beginning part of that promise was more real then the second part. My body is completely letting me know how much it is “wasting away”. I currently suffer from a couple autoimmune conditions that limit by body’s ability to handle normal life. (See spoon theory) So basically when I exceed that limit my body’s police pull me over and ticket me with pain, headaches and extreme fatigue; which feels just like a hangover.
As a result my morning routine felt like I was treading though the April mud. After extended worship, mainly because I was struggling to keep my eyes open enough to open my Bible, I asked Jesus where He was leading today. Not surprisingly, I was taken to the book of Acts which details the events after the resurrection.
As the book begins the disciples are still feeling the rush of the resurrection and the joy of having their friend and Savior with them again. But it soon changes as Jesus ascends to heaven leaving them with a command and a promise.
As they woke the next morning in Jerusalem, I wonder if they too had a bit of a “hang over”. It must have been such a let down after all the thrill of the last 40 days. I also wonder if they had a similar thought to my own this morning. What now?
I am reminded of the story I shared in my Good Friday post about the godly people that were raised from the dead when Jesus died. Matthew says that they stayed in the graveyard until after the resurrection. What was that about? There they were, alive again, but still in the cemetery that had become their home. Were they just not sure what to do next?
Every year after Easter celebration I am left with a “what now” feeling. Here I have been reminded that I have been made alive in Christ with all the joy that truth brings.
Yet today I am feeling very surrounded by death; both in my body and in the news. Like being alive yet still living in the cemetery or in that place between the promise and the fulfillment.
So I slowly turn my tired thoughts back to Jesus in prayer. I ask Him the question I know He holds the answers to. Sure enough, the answer to the “what do I do now” question is only a few verses later in Acts 2.
The short list is there. Repent, turn to God, be forgiven, get the Holy Spirit and save yourself from crooked people. Call it the 5-step program to get over the hangover. Not complicated but necessary to get you out of the cemetery and into the promise land.
1. Repent. According to Wikipedia repentance “summons us to a personal, absolute and ultimate unconditional surrender to God as Sovereign”. Repentance is not only for our salvation, it is an essential place we must live in daily. Surrender to our Sovereign God is our home and should be lived in and returned to during this “what now” part of life.
2. Return to God. The act of repentance should always lead to a complete change of direction (180° turn) toward God and a turning away from our stubborn ways. This is a specific choice we must make, sometimes moment by moment, towards life and away from the ways of death.
3. Be forgiven. We have a God who is always ready to forgive. But often we do not live forgiven. Our regrets rule our days and hold us down. Our past dominates our current choices. We must let those things go after we repent and live forgiven.
4. Get the Holy Spirit. If the disciples needed to wait for Him we sure do. The Holy Spirit comes in us as a guarantee of salvation but we need Him on us for the power to live the life God desires for us. (see another post I wrote on this) If you question this, look at the difference between Peter before and after Pentecost. From denier to bold preacher.
5. Save yourself from crooked people. Beware that sometimes the most crooked are those who spout religious words but live with very selfish intent i.e. the religious leaders of Jesus’ time on earth. We must be careful who we are listening to and hanging around. Do they treat the biblical Jesus as holy and true, as an example to live by or have they modified Him to suit their own agenda.
These 5 steps are like the rest and aspirin recommended to recover from a hangover. Plus they come prescribed by our Great Physician.
Yes, Easter is over but it’s truth lives on. You and I have a choice. Stay hungover in the cemetery of the reality of this world or take the cure and walk into your Jerusalem; the place where we are called to first wait, be filled and then go out on the mission God has for us to spread the resurrection day good news.