Resurrection as a Lifestyle

Now that the special church services have concluded, the new Easter outfit has been showcased, the chocolate bunnies have been eaten, the eggs have been found, and the family gatherings have dispersed – what do we do with the message of the resurrection the rest of the year?

As a pastor for 30 years and now a full-time equipper and advocate for renewal in the church, I find that it is easy to blow past Easter weekend and remain unchanged. We dare not put the idea of Christ’s resurrection into the “Easter weekend” box and somehow pack it away until next year. Rather, Christ wants the reality of His resurrection to be the central power and passion of our lives every day of the year. I think Paul’s dedication and aspiration in Philippians 3:7-11 captures the heart of a resurrection lifestyle that we can embrace daily, regardless of our circumstances.

We dare not put the idea of Christ’s resurrection into the “Easter weekend” box and somehow pack it away until next year. Rather, Christ wants the reality of His resurrection to be the central power and passion of our lives every day of the year.

Resurrection Living = Self-Distrust

Because we have received His resurrection life, we embrace His indwelling sufficiency and reject the pitiful strength of human accomplishment and effort. Paul, after recounting all of his previous accomplishments and religious achievements, wrote, “But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord” (vv. 7&8). He went on to say that he determined to “count them as rubbish.” Then again, he spoke of his self-made merits: “Not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith” (v. 9). Earlier in the chapter he described true spirituality as a life that places “no confidence in the flesh” (v. 3).

Because we have received His resurrection life, we embrace His indwelling sufficiency and reject the pitiful strength of human accomplishment and effort.

It’s been said that the main reason we do not experience a revival of His resurrection power is that we are content to live without it. That contentment is rooted in self-trust. It is too easy in today’s materialistic and achievement-oriented society to become lulled into a “Laodicean lifestyle.” The folks in Laodicea believed they were “rich and increased with goods and had need of nothing.” Jesus said they were actually “wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:17). Jesus offered them an opportunity to repent as He knocked on the door of their spiritually “lukewarm” hearts, eager to reenter their situation in resurrection communion.

It’s been said that the main reason we do not experience a revival of His resurrection power is that we are content to live without it. That contentment is rooted in self-trust.

Without a full experience of that power we are just “jars of clay” – common, worthless pots. In our flesh “dwells no good thing” (Romans 7:18). When we realize that self-reliance is the great enemy of spiritual desperation, which is the pathway to resurrection power, we can begin anew to embrace Christ’s call every day, week, month, and year.

Resurrection Living = Sacrificial Discipleship

Because we have seen the glory that comes from death in the message of the Cross, we passionately pursue the counterintuitive call to die, that we might truly live. Paul determined to “count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things.” On one hand he longed to know the power of the resurrection. On the other hand, he was passionate to know the “fellowship of His sufferings.”

Because we have seen the glory that comes from death in the message of the Cross, we passionately pursue the counterintuitive call to die, that we might truly live.

When we trust the resurrection of Christ, no sacrifice is too great for the sake of His glory and in the promise of His reward. In Luke 14, Jesus made the terms clear: “And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.  . . Whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple . . . Salt is good; but if the salt has lost its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is neither fit for the land nor for the dunghill, but men throw it out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” (Luke 14:27-35). Christianity without sacrifice is like salt without flavor. Yet, the sustaining and rewarding power of resurrection makes this kind of living possible and compelling.

Christianity without sacrifice is like salt without flavor.

Resurrection Living = Spiritual Determination

Because we have tasted of the unfathomable power of His resurrection life, we are determined to know Him as the source of that life in intimate interchange. We long to demonstrate that life in authentic pursuit of His glory. Paul’s desire was uncompromising. He wanted to experience “the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus his Lord.” His clear intention was stated, “that I may gain Christ.” He declared, “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:10).

Paul wrote these words from prison. He faced real and foreboding suffering and uncertainty. Yet, his understanding of a resurrection lifestyle was undeterred. Nothing could take the power of this choice and commitment from him.

At the end of his life, writing again from a dark, filthy prison cell, Paul was able to look back on a journey of relentless spiritual pursuit. He wrote, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7-8). Resurrection living had not been easy for Paul – but certainly worth it, both in this life and in the hope of eternity.

A Prayer

“Lord Jesus, thank You for the annual opportunity we have to pause and think about the greatest story known to man as we celebrate the power of Your resurrection. Now, let us trust the real expression of that message in our daily choices and moment-by-moment lifestyle. Our world is desperate for real and lasting transformation. May Christ’s resurrection power flourish in us and flow through us as we embrace self-distrust, sacrificial discipleship, and spiritual determination, by Your grace for Your glory. Amen.”

May Christ’s resurrection power flourish in us and flow through us as we embrace self-distrust, sacrificial discipleship, and spiritual determination.

Copyright © 2018 Daniel Henderson. All rights reserved.