I vividly remember how I'd bubble with excitement as a kid when a family road trip was approaching. I'd anticipate it for weeks. I'd carefully pack my activity bag for the long car ride and help my mom pick out the snacks. And the night before? Well, I'd only catch a few winks. My mind wouldn't rest because I'd be thinking about all the happy moments and adventures I'd have with my family in the weeks ahead. The trip had yet to happen. The day had yet to arrive. But if anyone was around me, there was plenty of proof that I was about to embark on a vacation. Yep, I even had my Kodak disposable camera ready to go.
We live with proof that reflects what we believe.
I believed vacation was coming; every part of my life reflected that. From the physical items I had prepared to my inability to sleep at night to the smile on my face and the emotions I couldn't hide.
As I reflect on those beautiful childhood memories, I often wonder if my life reflects that same proof of what I believe about Jesus.
- Do others know I believe in him?
- Do those observing me have any doubts that I'm a Christian?
- Is there excitement about Jesus bubbling within me?
- Is that excitement apparent to those around me?
- Is there an aura about me that reflects the love of my Father?
As a Christian, I often find these questions very humbling. Perhaps you do too.
The death of Jesus and his resurrection define Christianity.
We just finished Easter - a very special day in the Church. It's a day we joyfully anticipated because of our hope in Jesus. We gathered with family and friends. We worshiped together as a faith community. And we rejoiced over the resurrection.
Now the hype of the holiday has calmed. We've put our nice outfits back in the closet and returned to ordinary life. But just because the big celebration has come to an end does not mean the hope of Jesus is done. In fact, the miraculous events of Easter are not just for Easter; they are what Christianity is all about.
Are we living proof of the resurrection and what Jesus has done?
The hope we celebrate at Easter is a hope that should be lived out every day of the year.
It's not about celebrating once a year in a church building. It's about living proof of the resurrection right where we are. It's about living with evidence of what Jesus has done - every day he gives us breath.
It's about fully living out what we say we believe. You see, if we believe in Jesus and the resurrection, then our lives should not just provide proof of it only one day of the year; our lives should overflow with proof every moment of every day!
So, how can we do that? How can we reflect to the world what our Savior has done for us? How can we live proof of the resurrection right where we are?
1. We can live proof of the resurrection by walking with a deeper joy.
Jesus came to give us a different kind of life - the abundant life. John 10:10 says, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." When we truly know Jesus, he gives us a deeper joy. It doesn't mean life is perfect; we still have ups and downs. But it does mean we can have joy that flows beyond our circumstances. We have trials and pain in this world, but we can take heart because we know Jesus has overcome them all (John 16:33).
Our trials won't all be resolved on this Earth, but they will be one day in heaven! Jesus rose from the grave. He is alive! If we accept Jesus as our Savior, he promises us a home in heaven where all the pain of this life will be wiped away forevermore. We will live with new bodies, free from our sins, cured of our diseases, healed from our broken relationships, and made new in Jesus Christ (Revelation 21:4). This is a reason to rejoice! As Christians, we should walk daily with joy that lights up our souls and radiates from the inside out. We should walk confidently, realizing nothing can seize the joy from knowing the promise of our eternal destination with Jesus.
2. We can live proof of the resurrection by walking with a greater purpose.
Jesus came to bring meaning to this crazy thing called life. He came to give us purpose. He came to give us something to live for beyond ourselves. Matthew 22:37-39 says, ". . . You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
It's easy to complicate our lives and waste time wishing, waiting, and searching for purpose when it's right in front of us. Jesus simplifies our purpose into two things: love God and love people. Yes, it's really that simple, and Jesus spent his entire earthly ministry doing just that. He lived to glorify God, his Father, and went out of his way to care for others. Why? Because he loved them.
John 13:35 says that others will come to know Jesus because of our love for him and for others. It is essential as followers of Jesus to live proof of him by walking in our purpose. Because he is alive, we have a reason to live too. When others are around us, they should sense the aroma of Christ. We should be the most loving people they know because love is what we are called to.
3. We can live proof of the resurrection by walking fully set free.
Jesus died on the cross and shed his blood to pay for all our sins (John 3:17). That doesn't just include our sins of today. It includes our entire life's debt of sin - anything we did in the past, anything we're struggling with in the present, and anything we will deal with in the future. Jesus died for it all. He fought the battle against sin, so we don't have to.
How would it feel to go to the bank and hear them say, "All your debts have been paid in full"? Your credit card debt, your home mortgage, your student loans, your car loan . . . everything! How would it feel to know that every debt you ever accumulated is wiped away? Wouldn't you feel alive? Joyful? Grateful? Free?
Friend, that's exactly what Jesus did for us. His death on the cross covered our sins once and for all. All our sin debts have been paid. We don't have to walk as prisoners of our past. We don't have to carry a burden of shame or guilt in the present. We don't have to live with the weight of feeling like we're not enough because of what we've done. John 8:36 says, "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." The word "indeed" means "without question." If we know Jesus, there's no doubt about it. We can live set free. And we can live set free indeed! He died on the cross and rose again so that we can walk in freedom. Living with such a great sense of freedom is a beautiful testimony to all those around us of Jesus' miraculous change in our lives.
Will you take the challenge? Will you live proof of Jesus every day?
As a child, I lived with proof of my upcoming vacation. In the same way, my life every day is lived with proof of the things I believe. I believe I will have breath in my lungs when I wake up tomorrow. My life reflects that with the plans I've already made. I believe I have a rewarding occupation. My life reflects that as I daily give 100% at my job. I believe unexpected expenses will come. My life reflects that by the way I save money for the future. I believe spring weather is coming (yes, even in Minnesota!). My life reflects that by the way my mental health has improved. I believe my family and friends love me. My life reflects that by the way I let down my guard around them. The list could go on.
But I'll be honest. I often need to stand back and look in the mirror to ensure my life reflects what I believe about Jesus. Perhaps you do too.
So, why is it so much harder to live with proof regarding our faith?
We often argue that living what we believe about Jesus is more challenging because we've never fully seen him. With our vacations, daily plans, seasons, finances, and family, we've seen these things firsthand, which has caused us to believe.
But I'd like to encourage you with this: There is evidence of Jesus around us too. We can see him if we pause and look. There's more evidence of Jesus than we could ever possibly imagine! Just look at nature as a start (Psalm 19:1). Then, look at the precious gift of a new life (Psalm 139:13-17). Think about ways Jesus has protected you (Psalm 119:114). Think beyond your problems to the good things you have and how he's provided (James 1:17). Those things didn't just happen by chance.
As you go about your week, I'd like to challenge you to keep these thoughts and questions in mind:
- If you're a Christian, you have the joy of Jesus inside your heart. Are you also living with joy on the outside to reflect him to others?
- If you're a Christian, Jesus has given you a greater purpose. Are you fully living out that purpose so that others may know him and find purpose too?
- If you're a Christian, Jesus has set you free. Does your life reflect that freedom?
John 11:25-26 says, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” Jesus gives us this beautiful promise. It's the promise of his resurrection power. If we really believe this promise, we must prove it!
We can live proof of Jesus by living with a greater joy, purpose, and freedom. We must daily live proof of Jesus and what he has done. It's a challenge I know I need to take, and I hope you will too!
Have you met Jesus yet?
This post talks a lot about living proof of Jesus once you've come to know him. But perhaps for you, this is your first time hearing about him. Did you know that the hope of Jesus is for you too? Here at Berean, we'd love to come alongside you and introduce you to him! The page below is a great place to start. You're also invited to join us for services whenever our doors are open. Can't come in person? Join us online!