Easter Sunday is the day that makes life different… forever.
It’s the Sunday where we hear about God’s incredible power, and Jesus’ victory over death itself. We hear that this same power is available to us (Ephesians 1:19-20). And every year, many people leave excited to think that this power will make their lives different.
But after a couple of weeks (or even days), we begin to realize that we aren’t that much different than before Easter. What happened to the promise of God’s power to change our lives? Why aren’t we different?
The problem is not in the power… the problem lies in the “appliance.” Here are three common reasons that God’s power doesn’t translate into lives that are different:
Ask any electrical nerd and they’ll tell you, the higher the resistance, the less power makes it through. In the case of a human, that resistance often takes the form of pride. That kind of pride doesn’t come from God:
“For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.” (1 John 2:16 NLT)
If we are truly living with Christ in us, we take no pride in achievements and possessions. Rather, we see them as gifts from God, designed to be shared with others. Perhaps this is the reason God takes away our ability to boast even in our own salvation! (Ephesians 2:9).
Human pride is one of the greatest forms of resistance to this life-changing power. I find it easier to remember this by using the word ego.
- E – Edging
- G – God
- O – Out
The good news is that when we lay our pride down, God edges back in!
Another power killer is disappointment. We give up on the power because we are disappointed. But I submit that we are often disappointed because of our expectations… not God’s.
We expect instant change… no struggles… everyone living happily ever after… and all according to our plan.
But God is at work in a broken world that is slow to change… hard to handle… and messy. And God asks us to be agents of change in these same situations. Results will take time. I should know, because God has been at work on me for decades, and God is still not done!
If we are to avoid disappointment, we must have realistic expectations. Realistic expectations are God’s expectations, not mine. That’s one of the reasons I love soaking in Scripture. It helps me get a glimpse of God’s great plan, and of God’s great love.
It realigns my perspective and my expectations. It makes room for God’s amazing power to work.
One last possibility for power interruptions? Avoidance!
Perhaps you’ve heard this classic example: “Lord, please grant me patience… and give it to me NOW!”
This is the prayer of someone who is in a trying moment. Their patience has been stretched to their limit. And do you know what’s so ironic about this situation? They probably asked for it!
Before the prayer above, there might have been prayer along these lines: “Lord, please make me more like you. Give me your eyes to see… teach me to love like you love.”
And what does God do? God puts us in a situation that requires more love and patience than we have to give! Why? Because that’s how we grow! That’s how we understand that this unlimited power can take us to the next level of love, patience, forgiveness… you name it!
We grow when we’re in over our head and have to rely on something more than we can do in our human abilities. And God’s power is right there for us, waiting to flow through an open heart.
And what do humans do? We avoid these opportunities like the plague.
- Work with someone who’s hard to work with? No way!
- Have that person in our small group that tries our patience? Absolutely not!
- Lean into the messiness of life to see how all this works? Yes, but only during service projects!
What would happen if we embraced these challenges as opportunities to let God stretch us? I believe we would grow!
And what would happen if we embraced these challenges as a lifestyle instead of a project?
I believe we would experience the indescribable power of God that is available to those who believe. (Ephesians 1:19-20)
And I believe Easter Sunday could be the day that makes our lives different… forever!
How have you experienced God’s power in your life? What keeps you from experiencing the full power of God? How will you reduce your “resistance?”