The Day After
Whew! Lent is over.
I almost said, Easter is over, since it was yesterday, but Easter is my every day now. The time of constant self-examination and mourning sin is past. I am a new creation.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
Of course, I should deal with myself when I’m tearing someone down in my thoughts or turning a blind eye to need, but I don’t park there. I don’t have to keep up the mental audio tape that I’m such a bad person.
I’m not a bad person. I am a new creation. Someone cleaned me up, dressed me in Easter clothes and told me to walk in confidence. Jesus gives me purpose. This is what Paul said two verses before the new creation verse.
and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
Jesus didn’t stay in the tomb, and I don’t stay in the place of death, but what in the world does that mean, to live for Jesus?
I imagine it like marriage. When I fell in love with Mike, he was my world. I day dreamed about him, wondering where he was at that moment and what he might be doing. I thought of special things I could do for him, things like handmade cards, a feather tucked in his dorm door, a homemade brownie.
We married in 1981. I don’t float on romantic clouds now, but he is woven throughout my thoughts. I plan meals he would enjoy or go to the cleaners for him. I clip articles or tell him about events or news I heard on the radio that would interest him. I consider him in all my plans. Mentally and literally I check in with him during my day. I want to be on the same page with him, sharing the same goals and values.
He has his jobs, and I have mine. Our skill sets differ and the Venn diagram of our lives overlap with a large oval, but not completely. We are not clones of each other, otherwise, one of us would be redundant. Still, even where we diverge, our hope is to compliment not compete with each other.
That’s how I want our marriage to be, but I am self-interested and my interests collide with Mike’s at times. I automatically believe he should look at situations from my perspective and make allowances for me. I have to make myself examine facts and feelings from his point of view. I manage to do that a percentage of time lower than I would like to admit.
One small action that I do is spend time with him. I’m not talking about quality time, that’s a given, I’m referring to mundane, quantity time. If he’s going to Home Depot, I go. If he’s going surfing, and it’s not raining, I try to go. If he’s going to a Gideon meeting or speech contest, I put on my shoes and go.
That sounds small, but Mike appreciates my taking part in his world, and I sense that it helps us stay glued together. He does the same for me.
Living for Jesus is a lot like marriage.
At first love with Jesus, I danced in the clouds and saw beauty in every leaf and pebble. As calendar months were torn away, my emotions leveled into practicalities. I am interested in what Jesus is interested in, namely telling other people about him in word and action.
We share the same goals, except when my self-interest takes over. I check in with him often, but I have found that I need both quality and quantity time with Jesus to stay aligned and live for him. Otherwise, I drift, just like I would if I did not spend time with Mike in the mundane as well as date night.
The challenge is to volunteer at Safe Harbor or dress up for Mike because I love Jesus and Mike, not because I fear losing their love or any other reason. Sometimes the emotion is there, often it is not, but I can choose to act or speak from love.
My attitude toward their reaction reveals my motive. If I don’t think I’m adequately appreciated or taken care of in return, then my actions didn’t bloom from love but a thorny vine of self preservation.
So what does the day after Easter and the days to come look like?
I stay in touch with my savior, praying as I did during Lent, but instead of bewailing my manifold sins and wickedness, my prayers post-Easter are of thanksgiving and wonder. Our talks spring out of the seed of love he planted at Easter. I’m free to love him, to enjoy him and to live at peace with him, just as I can do with Mike when I live out of love.
I John 4:16, 18,19 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us.
English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.