The Easter ham is gone. The hard-boiled egg shards scatter the floor. The Easter bunny has hopped on. So what do we do now? How do we continue to live in the joy of Easter?
We follow the example of Jesus' closest followers and be prepared.
(Need to start at the beginning? Here's Week 1.)
Have you ever run a marathon or entered a cooking competition? Big events, such as these, require a great deal of preparation and training. Running a marathon without training or preparation is a surefire way to get injured or cramp up. Entering a cooking competition without planning your meal and practicing its execution and plating is a recipe for disaster. The same thing applies to your spiritual walk!
If, like Paul, we liken the Christian life to running a race, we can see clearly that running this race requires a great deal of preparation, training, and endurance. We can’t just walk forward, say a prayer, and expect that life will now be a stroll through the park. In fact, Jesus told His disciples “In the world you will have tribulation . . .” (John 16:33). Truthfully, this race may be the most difficult and trying race anyone can ever run because it requires us to completely adjust our focus, go against our nature, and have a change of heart. But, as is typical of our Lord, Jesus gives us the ultimate hope in the latter part of the verse when He says, “But be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
And having overcome the world, Jesus provides examples of ways we can run the race with endurance; things like prayer (Matthew 26:36–45), studying the Word (Luke 2:51–52, 4:16–20), solitude with God (Luke 5:16), serving others (Matthew 20:28; John 13:1–17), fasting (Matthew 4), and more.
In Acts, the apostles and the early church endured a great deal of tribulation and difficulty. They suffered through persecution and torment, and many lost their lives for their faith. How did they get through it? How did they survive and thrive in the work God had tasked them with? Through the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1–4) and with much spiritual training (Acts 1:14, 2:42, 9:8–11, 13:1–3).
And just like Jesus and His disciples, we can prepare ourselves each day for whatever obstacles the world throws at us. But always remember, all the training and preparation mean nothing if our heart is not seeking after God’s heart (1 Chronicles 22:19) and our will is not conformed to His (Luke 22:42). It also doesn’t hurt to have training partners (Philemon 1:6)!
Reflect, today, on how the Creator endured physical torture (Isaiah 53:5a; Matthew 27:26-35) and gave His life to pay the price for our shortcomings (Isaiah 53:5b; Ephesians 1:7). Reflect upon the fact that the perfect Son of God stood silently as He was accused and insulted by the ones He came to save (Isaiah 53:7; Matthew 26:63, 27:12; Luke 23:34). Our trials and tribulations may not seem so bad anymore!
This devotion is based on Calvary Fort Lauderdale's series: "'It is finished' was just the beginning."