Easter Is Over. Now What?

Lent is over. Good Friday is history. Easter has come and gone. Now what? If I was one of the original apostles meeting with Jesus after His resurrection, my next move would have been to wait.

Once when he was eating with them, he commanded them, “Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before. John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 1:4-5 (NLT).

But I don’t have to wait for the Holy Spirit. He already dwells in me and has from the moment I believed that Jesus died for my sins and claimed Him as my Savior.

Pondering the journey of Lent, through the agony of seeing Jesus on the cross, and joy of His resurrection, I still have to ask myself, “Now what?” If faith in Christ doesn’t change anything about how I think and live, then what is the point?

And so the answer to the question “Now what?” must be that now I let Him change me to be more like Him. I allow Him to change me to be more loving, more patient, gentler, kinder, less selfish.

I have already allowed Him to change me a great deal, but there is more that He can do in my heart and in how I think. On Good Friday, I nailed my sins to the cross, and Jesus desires for me to leave them there. To His cross I nailed fear, lack of trust, selfishness, anger, and unforgiveness. He desires that I move forward in my life with courage, trust, selflessness, understanding, and forgiveness.

So for me the next step I think needs to be to say, in the words of MercyMe, “So Long Self.”

The first time I heard this song I didn’t completely get it. But the more I spend time in God’s Word and in prayer, the more I express to Him a desire for the cross to really make a difference in my life, the more I understand what this song is all about.

I can’t go through life putting myself first. To be more like Christ, I must put others before myself. Just as Jesus laid down His life for my benefit, I must lay down my life for the benefit of others. This doesn’t mean that I must physically die for others (though some people are certainly called to do so), but it does mean I must set aside the selfish desire to improve only my own life and think of helping others. Sometimes that might mean giving up what society tells me are my rights, and it will often require me to trust that the spiritual blessings God will grant me as a result of my selflessness will far outweigh any material blessings I could gain by putting my desires first.

It will also require me to listen closely to the Holy Spirit and follow His advice and promptings. To truly say “so long” to my selfish nature, I must rely on Christ living in me.

My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die. Galatians 2:20-21 (NLT).

Christ died for me and you so that we may live free of sin and the law. He died so that we might be free to live according to His Spirit living in us.

Lent is over. Good Friday is history. Easter has come and gone. Now what will you do?

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11 Comments

Filed under Faith, Jesus, Life, Music, postaday2011, Service

11 responses to “Easter Is Over. Now What?

  1. Ann

    Jimmy Swaggart – Unworthy of the blood

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  2. Ann

    Thank you, Linda

    Great post!

    “Sometimes that might mean giving up what society tells me are my rights, and it will often require me to trust that the spiritual blessings God will grant me as a result of my selflessness will far outweigh any material blessings I could gain by putting my desires first.”

    Linda, this here could be a whole post by itself. 🙂 Thank you for tying is so beautifully to the rest of this wonderful piece. Thanks for taking the time to put this together to the glory of His name.

    The nailing of the sins to the cross makes me think deeply. I have never had the experience …I don’t know how I would respond to the hammer and nails. That would just reduce me to a pile of tears 😦 … Makes me appreciate His sacrifice even more.

    Easter may be over but the sacrifices He made still cover our sins. We get to choose how we respond to what He’s done for us.

    Blessings,
    ann

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    • Ann, I cannot stress enough what a wonderful experience it is to nail your sins to the cross. It does cause some tears and sorrow, but it’s a good sorrow that leads to deep appreciation for all that He has done. Thank you for your encouraging comment about this post. For all that He has changed me over the past 20 years, I know He isn’t don’t yet. That thought both scares me and causes me joy at the same time. Peace, Linda

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  3. So blessed by the post and the comments.Theresa said something that really hit me too . . .to take the time to quiet ourselves and listen for His voice throughout our day. I need that . . .have to do that.
    Thank you Linda, for sharing about what comes next . . .goodbye to self.
    God bless you!

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    • Deb, Life is so noisy it seems (at least mine is) that I do have to make a conscious effort to quiet myself and listen. One thing about the Holy Spirit, He doesn’t often shout. It’s usually more of a whisper. Peace, Linda

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  4. Linda, I like the idea of nailing our sins on the cross and leaving it there. Jesus carried the cross out of love for us and here we are sometimes carrying our cross not out of love but pride. Got to nail them really hard! Blessings to you 🙂

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    • Rea, It is a very moving experience to actually pick up a hammer and nail, with sins in hand, and nail them to the cross. I can still hear the ring of the hammer to nail from the first time I did this at a Good Friday service. But this is the first time I really thought about the need to leave those sins there and not try to pick them back up again. You are right that it is pride that makes us want to do that. Peace, Linda

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  5. Your response has encouraged my heart this morning. Thank you.

    Blessings,
    Theresa

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  6. This was a great post. I really liked these words:

    “It will also require me to listen closely to the Holy Spirit and follow His advice and promptings. To truly say “so long” to my selfish nature, I must rely on Christ living in me.”

    I really believes the key to living a life pleasing to the Lord is write in those words. He is right there with us, and if we take the time through out the day to quiet ourselves and listen for His voice as we pray and meditate on the word He will increase and self will decrease.

    I am so glad you wrote this post. It reinforced the thoughts in a sermon I heard yesterday that referred to it as practicing His presence.

    Blessings,
    Theresa

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    • Theresa, Our sermon yesterday was about the good side of impossible. We had a guest speaker and he talked about how it is impossible for God’s Word and promises to not come true. He has promised us His Holy Spirit to guide us. He has promised that if we practice being in His presence, He will increase and we will decrease. I’m so glad this post was a blessing to you and an reinforcement of what you heard yesterday. I love when He works it out so that these things all come together for us. Peace, Linda

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