April is perhaps the busiest time of year in my life and so many others. For me, it is filled to the brim with national speech and debate competitions. For others, graduation preparation, the end of school, tax season, and spring sports are overtaking lives. Schools are heavy in testing season. Churches are busily readying themselves for Easter Sunday and Holy week, knowing fully that their doors will be opening for more people that usual.
Perhaps one of the most underrated holidays there has ever been.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas as much or more than anyone else, but the holiday that is on our heels, the one we will celebrate in a matter of days, is the most important celebration a believer will ever take part in.
In American Christiandom, nearly everyone celebrates Easter, whether sold over to Christ or only claiming the name. Feet walk into churches though they want nothing to do with them all other fifty-one Sundays of the year. Prayer is lifted all around, and more are made aware of the Gospel story than ever. We are given the opportunity to interact and openly share the good news with anyone.
If this is the case, what then should we do? How the should we prepare our hearts?
In final words of Colossians, Paul makes a few pleas to his Christian readers. While they were not celebrating the oncoming of Easter, they were, in that time period, continually celebrating and defending the resurrection of Jesus.
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Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison—that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.
(Colossians 4:2-4 ESV)
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Continue in Prayer
Notice how Paul says to continue in prayer, meaning that there should have never been a stopping point. Yet, if there has ever been a time of year for knee-to-floor cries to Jesus, it is now.
It is here. People are thinking. Hearts are softening.
John 15:7 reminds us, “If you abide in me, and I in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you.” If we abide in Him. If He abides in us. What else would we desire through prayer other than His Kingdom to burst? You see, continuing in prayer is part of our own abiding in Him. Oh, how our hearts will long desperately for His glory. Our minds will dwell in the spreading of His name. We will grow in our longing for people around us to know Him.
Be Watchful in Thanksgiving
Often in the hustle and bustle of preparing for festivities or even sharing our faith during this time, we can get lost in the business.
Christian, let us not forget what we are celebrating. We are celebrating the single most important thing that ever happened! More important than our wedding days, more important than the birth of our babies, more important than the degree we earned. We are celebrating the day that our own sins and selfish desires were erased by the flowing blood of Jesus. We are celebrating the day that death thought it had overthrown everlasting life but was surprised to find the heel of God stomping its head down.
Be watchful in thanksgiving, oh Christian.
Do not neglect to remember why we celebrate this day. It is not to get people to think like we do. It is not to put smiles on children’s’ faces. It is to joyously celebrate the life that we do not deserve. It is to thank the one whose love won the battle of eternity.
Pray Earnestly for our Leaders
Not only pastors. Leaders could be the staff of our church. It could be the missionaries around our world. It could be the house church leader in East Asia who is continuously threatened by his or her surroundings. These are the people stepping into the spiritual war zone.
Yes, Jesus defeated the cross.
But you better bet that Satan is not giving up without a fight.
Ephesians 5 commands us that we are not in a battle of flesh and blood. Our battle is spiritual. The devil hates when the world genuinely celebrates the day of his downfall. He loves when we are distracted by bunnies and colorful eggs. He loves it when pastoral messages cloud the truth to appease the ears of unbelievers. That’s how he tricks us.
That’s how he tricks us.
As we pray earnestly, let us not only pray that people would show up but let us pray that those who show up would leave knowing and understanding the truth of the Gospel. Let us pray that no one would shy away from the authenticity, but with love, we would stand up against the schemes of the devil and explicitly share the truth of the Gospel.
Declare the Mystery of Christ
Finally, Beloved, the beauty of this Easter season is the ease of sharing the Gospel, declaring the mystery of Christ.
For thousands of years before the coming of Christ and after the fall of man, God’s people knew that He would somehow redeem them, but the mystery of how remained. Would He come as a political figure? As a powerful, heavenly-like king that overtook the world? It was the point of discussion, maybe like the way we discuss the mystery of His second coming. It was confusing and beautiful and unknown.
And today the mystery has been revealed. He came as a man, resembling us but completely divine. He allowed himself to be completely vulnerable though He could have shown His authority at any time. He was born in the most humble of places and died in the most humiliating of places.
Christians, it is not only our joy to share the news of Christ, it is our duty. We have no other choice, not because we will endure punishment otherwise, but because the Spirit within us cannot help but explode with Jesus’s love. Paul’s mission was to declare the mystery of Christ wherever he went. He did over and over. He was beaten and stoned and eventually murdered because the Spirit oozed out of Him. He made it his life’s work to share the Gospel as he traveled around making tents.
Let us mimic Paul. He had a job. He did the normal person kind of life, but he did it through the lens of the resurrection. I want to do the same. As I travel the face of this world, going from school to work to friends and back, I want to make it my life’s work to declare the mystery of Christ.
I pray that there is not a person who questions if I am affiliated with Jesus.
I pray that everyone around me knows that I am someone they can talk to about Easter.
I pray that we can band together in prayer, thanksgiving, and declaration that the Kingdom of God might be built.
So over the next eleven days (or however many there are when you read this), do not grow weary in preparation for Easter. Spend an extra twenty minutes each morning in prayer that hearts might be softened. Practice personal worship to songs celebrating the resurrection. Grab the hands of your leaders and bow your head over them so they know they are being lifted up. Share the explicit, beautiful Gospel with people in your circle.
Continue in earnest prayer.
Be watchful in thanksgiving.
Declare the mystery of Christ.
Then one sweet Sunday morning, when we rise and the Sun peeks over the horizon, we will know that we have abided in Jesus in preparation for this day. We will be giddy in the knowledge that His body is not here on this earth. We will have been obedient. We can enjoy the celebration that will ensue. We can savor the candy we steal from little children’s easter baskets.
But more importantly, we can savor the death-defying love of Jesus. The love that chose to come live the meek life of a carpenter, die the death of a criminal, and raise up from the grave as the greatest King to ever be.
Originally posted 2017-04-06 22:13:30.