"Forgetting what lies behind…" Philippians 3:13
The main theme of Easter and Easter week is hope, and as "Red" from Shawshank Redemption put it “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things.” Easter hope is not just Easter insurance, i.e. we have to die to get the benefit. Hope does point you to the future and even draws you there, but it also blesses this very present day.
Part of being a "new creation in Christ" means discovering daily how we become new in Christ. The process of spiritual growth is sometimes frustratingly slow, but God is at work. He whispers and nudges and closes and opens and eventually you end up in a completely different place.
I like what I read from Ken Chafin a few years ago. After daily Holy Week services he took his Bible and for 24 hours, prayed and read. Here is what he heard God saying to Him. See if you can relate.
He said, “Kenneth, you’re a little frightened; let me take your fear. Through the years, you’ve accumulated people that don’t like you. You’ve let that bother you. Let me take that away from you. Let me take away your defensiveness and insecurity and bring to you a sense of peace, of boldness, of love, of forgiveness, of openness, and the willingness to risk.” So I said to him: This is what I want at Easter, for the living Christ to come and take out of me everything that’s deadly; deadly to others and deadly to myself. You see, this is the kind of thing that Christ is trying to do in our lives, but sometimes we want to hold onto the things that are killing us.”
You do not have to be the same person, and there's probably quite a few things in each of us we need to let go of. You may be holding on to things that are killing you. God offers to work His grace into your life. It will be slow, but do not underestimate Him or the grace He brings to your life. This is the hope you have today as an Easter Promise.
We are now well after Easter. Has the open dimmed? Have you picked up again what you should have left alone? That's the real challenge. Peter encourages us in his letter to cast all of our burdens on God because He cares for us, and so we do. But then as we leave the throne of His mercy and grace we pick it up again and carry that unnatural and unhelpful burden around with us until the next time we decide to leave it alone.
All the slings and arrows of life take a little blood, and if we don't deal with them quickly, confessionally, and intentionally they will drain us of life. What holds you back from the post-Easter assurance you were created to enjoy? Is it guilt? Fear? Resentment? Whatever it is, quite it and forget it. God certainly has.
Dr. Terry Ellis
April 7, 2013