Friday, March 21, 2008

Words of Encouragement

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. – 1 Corinthians 15:56-58

Sacrifice of Praise. Sacrifice brings victory. On this “Good Friday” we take the time to reflect on what took place for you and I to be able to stand in victory. Jesus willingly allowed himself to be crucified as the scripture foretold for our transgressions, our sins. He became the living sacrifice for the atonement of sin. What that means is the blood of the animals was not enough to remove the sins of the people. It was only a temporary covering. The blood of Christ became the true remover of sins. The blood of Christ doesn’t simply cover them over and allow them to still be there, he completely removes them. Yet, these sins were not removed with out the payment of Christ blood.

Jesus’ sacrifice became the door to victory over the sting of death. Jesus’ sacrifice gives us victory. Paul then tells his listens, “therefore”. Therefore means as a result of this, something else can happen. So as a result of Jesus’ sacrifice for our victorious living, we then should live victoriously. That means we should stand firm in the truth and allow nothing to move us. Bad treatment, bad attitudes, bad situations, bad circumstances, NOTHING, should move us.

We should always give ourselves fully to the work of the Lord because what we do for Christ will last. One sacrifice (Jesus’) calls for another sacrifice (ours). Jesus gave his life for us, so that we can lay ours down for him. Our sacrifice of praise manifests itself in our willingness to live a victorious life for Christ. When we live victoriously we show the world that the power of Christ is real.

When we live defeated, angry, complacent, fearful or unfulfilled lives as believers, we bring doubt to onlookers about the ability of God. Is this Christ really resurrected? If he is, why does his people have no power over the natural things? For if this Christ be raised, then shouldn’t his people also be raised (moved from sin)? Shouldn’t they have power over those things of the flesh? Shouldn’t they have power to overcome as Christ did? If Christ was able to fulfill his mission on the cross, shouldn’t his people be able to fulfill theirs also? If Christ did not allow naysayers, mockers and enemies to stop him for going to his cross, shouldn’t his people be able to go to theirs and carry that which is for them to carry?

Today as we prepare for the resurrection, let us take one more look at the cross. As I saw a play at New Life Church of God on last Sunday and it came to the part where Christ lowered his head and said it is finished, I thought about myself. We most times think of this saying of “it is finished” as the end of life. But there are going to be times when we must carry one cross to be later replaced with a different cross throughout our spiritual walk. There are sometimes I must crucify some things, nail them to the cross (my fleshly way of handling it) and speak it is finished over them. So that I can be resurrected to newness (the place where I have victory over the flesh in that area), where that which was crucified has no more affect over me, for I have received the victory over that.

Yet, I will have to repeat the process with the next cross I must pick up. I pray that we seek God this Resurrection Sunday and ask, is there something I need to nail to the cross? Is there some attitude, some behavior, or some mindset that needs to be crucified? If so, let me make the sacrifice so that I can have victory over it, when you resurrect me to the newness of my walk.