Living the Resurrection Reality
When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55 “O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. 1 Cor 15:50-58
This passage is all about how to live the resurrection reality. The entire chapter is about how the fact of resurrection changes the way we see our lives and make decisions.
There are many people who are believers in Jesus who are not living as if Jesus rose from the grave. When Lazarus was raised from the dead Jesus first command was take off his grave clothes. There are people who are walking around in grave clothes acting like they don’t have a new reality in Christ.
My resurrection reality is a change in thinking in direct proportion to my understanding that Jesus Christ, the God of the universe, died on the Roman cross for me, earning my pardon and granting me eternal reward, and then rose again in victory over my greatest enemy, sin and death. Therefore, even the bad in this life will be turned to good, the truly good can never be taken away and the best is yet to come.
In this new reality, you become steadfast. You become unflappable. You become immovable. As Paul the apostle said, “If God be for us, who can be against us.”
Or as I like to say, “If God before us, who gives a rip whose against us.”
How to live the resurrection reality:
1. Change your ID
People who have their identity in the wrong things are always drifting. If you put your identity in your looks or your money or your family it won’t last.
Whatever you put on the throne that is not related to the purposes of God for your life it will be dethroned. Any material thing that you put on the throne will quickly get dethroned.
New car’s are not as fancy once you’ve had them awhile. New houses, new jobs, new clothes.
Paul says “thanks be to God who gives US…”. Who’s he talking about? He’s talking about the church. He’s talking about a new community.
Put your identity in Jesus and come and join with others who have put their identity in Jesus and let’s change the world together.
Celebrate the glory of God
Connect to the word of God
Live in community with the people of God
And join in the cause of God
And see what awesome things God will do with your life!
You say “I don’t like church”. The church is made up of people and people will always fail you. If you have your hope in people you god is way too small. Get your eyes off people and focus on Jesus. Your job is to love people, serve people, forgive people and inspire people. It is not your job to judge people or change people. Only God can do that.
2. Stop fearing what can’t kill you
Most people live in fear. They fear getting old, or fear losing loved ones or fear losing their jobs. In short, they fear death. In this passage Paul says not even death can kill you.
I remember fearing a camel spider when we were in the Middle East. It turns out the insect had no venom- it was a false fear. In this passage Paul literally says death has no “venom”. I think he was talking about the camel spider! Death has no venom- quit fearing it.
3. Abound in the Lord’s work
You have a choice, you can be bound up in your own self centeredness or you can abound in the Lord’s work.
Here’s how you abound in the Lord’s work:
You live like Jesus lived and Jesus did three things while on earth:
- He focused his life on the purposes of God and didn’t care about anything else. He focused like a laser on what God had purposes for him. Hebrews said “For the JOY set before him he endured the cross. None of you will ever experience anything worse than the cross but you if you KNOW your purpose and that is what excites you- you can get through anything. Teri and I were riding wave runners at a friends place and I went flying over a sand bar and she got stuck. The problem was she looked around at the sand and I saw the other side. Peter looked at Jesus while walking on the water but when he looked around he sank.
- He brought people hope. Your job is to bring hope to the hopeless, life to the lifeless and joy to the joyless. Here are three things God will NEVER give you: control, certainty and clarity. When you get your mind around that truth it will save you about 8 hours out of your day. HE was a lifegiver, a joygiver and a hopegiver. “MY hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness…”. IS that just a song or do you believe it?
- HE served others. He wasn’t always caught up in what he could get for himself. He didn’t have ingrown eyeballs.
4. Invest in what you cannot lose
How do you live “steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”
Stop investing in things that won’t last. You need a vision that is bigger than your lifespan. If your vision doesn’t outlast your life then your vision is too small. If you goal is to get to retirement that is too small. Retirement is a bad idea anyway- you never retire when you work for the kingdom. Your vision needs to honor God.
If it doesn’t honor God it is beneath you, it’s too cheap and it won’t last.
“All that is not eternal is eternally out of date.” C.S. Lewis
I want my life to honor God. Does it honor God if people know Him? Yes. Does it honor God if I live for Him? Yes.
It really honors God if we grab on to a huge audacious God sized missions.
Here are questions to ask about your vision:
A. Does it help people?
If you are doing it for yourself, you will become miserable.
The Bible says “do not let any unwholesome word come out of your mouth but only what is helpful for building others up…”
If you lose your vision for eternity it will become dull and boring. Why are people you work with mean? Because work that starts off as mission can entropy over time and become meaningless and aimless and when that happens people get frustrated and bored and mean.
B. Am I good at it?
If you think God has called you to sing and you can’t sing – God has not called you to sing.
C. Does it energize me?
Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life; everyone must carry out a concrete assignment that demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated, thus, everyone's task is unique as his specific opportunity to implement it. (Victor Frankl)
“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose,”- Jim Elliot
IF you don’t’ use your body, it will entropy. If you don’t use your brain, it will entropy. Studies have shown this to be true- exercise your God given purpose and do it to the utmost.
D. Is it God-sized?
The Bible says God rewards those who earnestly seek him.
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)
Here’s my response: It might as well be me. If God is handing out checks to fund big missions – might as well be me. If God is going to interceded and do something amazing for somebody it might as well be me. If God is going to favor your life and take brokenness and do something incredible with it, it might as well be me. IF God is going to take tragedy and turn it into His glory, might as well be me. If God is going to take mourning and turn it into dancing, might as well be me. If God is going to take the pain and hurt and death of this life and turn it into resurrection and glory and joy and purpose, it might as well be me.
- How does the resurrection change our reality?
- How has Christ taken away the sting of death?
- Do you have a big vision for your life?
- Why is it important for our vision for life to be “God sized?”