20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. 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. Galatians 2.
Easter break came and we are back to our daily routine, long weeks and short weekends. I know the feeling if only every week was 4 days long! But to a Christian, Easter means more than a long weekend. Because that first Easter did not just change history, it completely affects our identity and how we live as Christians.
You could say Easter is the compass on how to live the rest of the year. It reminds us of who we are, those bought by his blood. And it gives us hope beyond the grave, that death will not be our end. Easter refocuses our attention to where we are headed, our eternal home with King Jesus. But the question is how are we to live now?
Die to selfish ambition
Paul says we are to live by faith in the one who died for us. We walk by faith not by mere eyesight as everyone else. And we are no longer to live for selfish ambitions as the rest of the world.
But now having died to self, we live for the one who died that we may live with God. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, when Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.
The man you hear is dead, for Christ now lives in him. It is Christ, says the apostle Paul, who now lives in me. And in this, we have sure confidence of our faith as the people of God, as we bear the marks of Jesus on us, our death for his life.
17 From now on, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus. Galatians 6.
Live for the salvation of others
We are not here merely waiting for the end of times but living for Jesus. And if Jesus came to die for our reconciliation with God then we die to self in submission to him and his mission.
As his ambassadors, we seek others to be reconciled with him. We crucify those wild dreams to make a name for ourselves for we belong to another.
Instead, we seek to please him and live for his dream, the reconciliation of the world to God. As 2 Corinthians says, his love compels us to seek the lost. Indeed, if our souls didn’t yearn and bleed for the lost, Christ wouldn’t be alive in us.
14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. 2 Corinthians 5.
Build his Body
Since we are dead to ourselves, we belong to Christ and his body. For we are not saved alone but as a community of believers. It’s no longer my life and my goals that matter for King Jesus calls me to his mission which is the mission of his church.
I’m eternally bound to my brothers, their weakness is my weakness and my greatest concern is that they are built up to maturity in him.
In the Bible, we learn that God is not working through a million individuals doing things separately but in the office of the Holy Spirit, his church.
21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. Ephesians 2.
The business of God is to bring us into the sheepfold of Christ and grow us to maturity, to conform us to his likeness.
He achieves this through his Word and by the gifts of one another. And as we speak God’s truth to one another, we grow in full knowledge of him:
11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Ephesians 4.
Have you fully died?
The problem is many of us Christians want to have our cake and eat it. We definitely want to live for King Jesus but a small part of us is still struggling to its last legs. Some of us are more aware of this than others. And unfortunately, we see it more in others than we see it in ourselves.
My prayer after this Easter is that we will withhold nothing to the one who died for us. That he will help us through his Word to kill selfish ambition for his mission.
To repent and kill sin every day. And to desire what he desires: that many may be saved and come to know him as their Lord. That we will be deeply convinced to give ourselves fully to his work as every Christian should.
He rose that we may die. To live and work for him who died for us. And as Paul says our labor in him is not in vain:
58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. 1 Cor 15.
As CT Studd said, only one life, ’twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last. All other work and way of life end in vain. But this is worth dying for.
I pray that we will be fully convinced by his Word that this is the true Christian calling. To fully die that he may live in us. Amen!