“Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. “Philippians 2:6-8(NLT).
I can recall the day as if were just yesterday. It’s been more than 15 years when an emptiness I couldn’t explain began chipping away at my heart. I was in my late 40s. I was lost and even if I didn’t know it, God did. He wouldn’t give up on me.
On a sunny October afternoon, I prayed aloud for the very first time. My simple prayer was, “God, help me. I need some direction in my life.”
Since that day, I have been on a journey, a quest you might say, to know my Savior and Lord more deeply, to understand God’s will for my life and to use my gifts for His glory. I never dreamed He would lead me, more than 12 years ago, to begin writing my weekly column, which eventually led to speaking engagements across the state.
Trying to fully comprehend the sacrifice Christ made for mankind is mind-boggling, sometimes even for those who believe. Still more breath-taking is what happened three days after his cruel death on the cross.
For those who doubt, I wonder where or in whom they place their hope. Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias says, “Outside of the cross of Jesus Christ, there is no hope in this world. That cross and resurrection at the core of the Gospel is the only hope for humanity.”
Hope and a desire to spread the Good News of His resurrection is what drove the disciples. Even facing hardships, they didn’t give up.
Christian author Erling C. Olsen once wrote, “Whoever reads the New Testament seriously, or gives thought to the impact which the apostles made upon their generation, must acknowledge that one outstanding historic event alone spurred that small band of 11 ordinary men to an amazing task of evangelization in their generation. Defying every obstacle, loss of home, persecution, even death itself, they evidenced the supreme relevance in their ministry of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”
How many Christians today are willing to face the obstacles, losses, persecution and eventually death that these men embraced on their mission to make disciples for Jesus? I would hazard a guess that not many of us who live in America and sit in our comfortable pews on Sunday mornings would be willing to die for our faith.
However, Jesus has called us to leave the church building. And, just like the disciples, He asks us to drop what we’re doing to share the Easter news.
Just as Christ didn’t remain in the grave, we must give up our attachment to worldly things to take up His cross. Author Clarence W. Hall says, “The resurrection of Jesus changes the face of death for all His people. Death is no longer a prison, but a passage into God’s presence. Easter says you can put truth in a grave, but it won’t stay there.”
Are you willing to leave your comfortable pew?
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