So Now What?
Easter service was great! The lilies looked beautiful; the band was awesome; the preacher was spot on; and surely thousands across the nation were baptized, sharing in Christ’s death and resurrection. Christ is risen indeed!
That’s great and all, but now what? Today is the Monday after Easter and what’s the point? Christians (and many people who simply say they’re Christians) all over the country celebrated the resurrection of Christ yesterday, worshiping, praying, and confessing Christ as Lord. So after confessing that Christ is risen, Christ is king, and Christ is Lord over your life, what has changed in your life?
Christianity is not simply about confessing a belief. It’s not about giving intellectual assent to some statement of doctrine. It’s not a mental exercise in figuring out what is true and what is false. It is primarily a relationship with that risen Christ whom we celebrate and worship. It is a deep loving commitment to the one who gave himself for you and who wants you just as you are. And with that relationship comes life-changing transformation. Transformation is one of the key evidence, or fruits, of a relationship with the risen Christ!
Brennan Manning, author of The Ragamuffin Gospel, writes:
“The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.”
We’re all broken in our own ways, and we all struggle with sin in our lives. But if you confess Christ with your lips on Easter Sunday, and your lifestyle sees no transformation on Monday, where is that relationship? It breaks my heart knowing so many people who truly confess Christ as the Son of God with their lips and believe in him with their minds, but are unwilling to give Him their hearts, to surrender their lives, and to be transformed. Paul writes in Romans 12:1-2:
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
Here’s the hard teaching: if there is no fruit of sanctifying transformation in your life, than perhaps you haven’t truly given yourself to Jesus. You might believe that He is God, believe that He is the savior, and believe that you are saved; but if you have not surrendered your heart and your life to Him, you might not yet know the transforming power of the risen Christ in your own life.
So now what? Christ is risen, and because of His resurrection, you and I have access to the sanctifying, transforming love of God. If you confess Christ with your lips, then acknowledge that He bought your life with His blood. You are not your own anymore – you are His, so surrender yourself to Him and let Christ bring new, unending, transforming life to your soul.
If this resonates with you today, here are some practical ideas for you to consider.
Begin developing a relationship with Christ. Meet with Him every day in the Word and prayer. Develop a routine of reading and studying Scripture and knowing Jesus through the testimony of the Word.
Pray. I find that journaling is a good start to praying: it’s a hands on and practical way of communicating whats on your heart, as if writing a letter to God. I often write out my prayers in the morning, my hopes and my fears, my struggles and my needs, and write about what stands out to me from reading the Word in the morning and how it speaks to me.
Find community. This life was not meant to be lived alone, and neither is this faith meant to be grown alone. We grow in community – as iron sharpens iron, so does one man sharpen another.
About the Author
Kevin Cook is a 4th year student at Asbury Theological Seminary and an Aspirant for Ordination in the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA). After graduating, Kevin hopes to plant a contemporary three-streams Anglican Church. He and his wife Nicole attend Wilmore Anglican Church in Kentucky.
Kevin holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music and a Master of Business Administration from Florida State University. Kevin enjoys playing music and leading worship, reading fiction and spiritual classics, drinking coffee, and spending time with family and friends.
I didn't support either candidate, but I am shocked that Donald Trump won the presidency of the United States of America. I certainly thought Hillary Clinton would win and I'd be serving as a peacemaker to disgruntled conservatives considering rebellion. But perhaps even moreso, I am absolutely shocked and appalled at how Christians... continue
It has been one year since our adoption journey began! Nicole and I made this video to share an update about what God has been doing with us. Please share this message of life, love, and hope! #attemptsomethingbig And if you are considering abortion, or know someone considering abortion, we would... continue
We've all been witnesses to the catastrophic nightmare we call a presidential election this year. I've had and observed several conversations about religion and politics over the past couple months. I've noticed a growing cynicism toward government and politics, especially among Millennials and Christians, who literally feel stuck with this year's... continue