Did you know that you could grow up in the church and still miss the meaning of Easter? I know, because for many years I did. Maybe you or your mentee can benefit from my journey.
I started attending church nine months before I was born, so I could have recited the historical facts of Good Friday and Easter to anyone who asked. I’d even memorized John 3:16. But, somehow, I’d missed the personal ramifications of Easter.
In middle school that began to change when a speaker at camp spoke on the cross. That night I realized God didn’t just love the world in general; He loved me in particular! God so loved me that He gave His only Son that if I would believe in Him, I would not perish but have everlasting life.
It broke my heart to think that Jesus had had to die for me. Yet, after processing what this meant, my brokenness morphed into incredible lightness. I was clean. My sins were forgiven, and heaven was my destiny. I returned home higher than a helium balloon singing the camp songs I’d learned. But my high was short-lived.
I was still the impatient person I’d always been. But one thing had changed. Before I gave my life to Christ I considered myself to be a good person. I hadn’t identified myself as “a sinner in need of a Savior.” I knew I lost my temper, but I reasoned that was only because someone provoked me! After I invited Christ into my life, I became aware of how I couldn’t control my outbursts.
Every night, I promised God I’d do better the next day. Every day I failed. Knowing that Jesus had paid the penalty for my sins—past, present, and future—certainly comforted me. But I needed power for everyday living.
Another Reason to Celebrate Easter
In college, I joined a small group Bible study. Even though I attended church and read my Bible, I wasn’t sure the Bible was relevant. So I embraced the parts I agreed with and dismissed the “outdated” parts.
The women in this study surprised me. Unpleasant circumstances didn’t distress them. Their responses to disappointment and loss showed a relationship with God I lacked. They lived as if God was involved in their day-to-day lives.
The better I got to know Jesus, the bigger God became. As my perception of Him expanded, the obstacles to trusting Him shrank. I realized that my ability to trust the Bible was related to my view of Him.
If God is God then:
- He is able to communicate with His children.
- He’s able to preserve the integrity of His Word.
- His wisdom is timeless and relevant.
I also learned why I’d been powerless to control my temper. I’d been trying to live the Christian life in my own strength. I was surprised to discover that only one person has ever successfully lived the Christian life, and He—Jesus—wants to live through me now.
In fact, the power that raised Jesus from the dead that first Easter is available to every child of God now. We weren’t meant to live the Christian life in our own strength. We were created to live by faith in God’s Son.
Notice the message of these Scriptures:
- “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know…his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms” (Ephes. 1:18-20 NIV).
- “The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20 NIV).
Jesus became sin for us on the cross that original Good Friday so that we might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21). Easter is more than a historical fact or holiday; it is the source of hope and power for daily living. Every day we live by faith in the Son of God, who loved us and gave himself for us we celebrate the Easter message. He is risen, and He lives in me!
Understanding the relevance of Easter to my daily life transformed how I live and has the power to do the same for you and your mentee.
Debbie W. Wilson is the author of Little Women, Big God and Give Yourself a Break. Share her journey to refreshing faith at www.DebbieWwilson.com