Posted by: arieliondotcom | April 6, 2010

Easter Leftovers

Philippians 4:4-8 (Amplified Version)

“Rejoice in the Lord always [delight, gladden yourselves in Him]; again I say, Rejoice!

Let all men know and perceive and recognize your unselfishness (your considerateness, your forbearing spirit). The Lord is near [He is coming soon].

Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God.

And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them].”

If your family is anything like mine was growing up, you’re still eating Easter leftovers. Ham sandwiches, and other family recipes. And there may even be some marshmallow chicks and a chocolate egg or two around.

The Christian life is something like that. Resurrection Day (Easter) is the reminder of GOD coming to us and dying for us and rising from the dead in the flesh so that we could have eternal life. But until we die in the flesh we are to live on in this life as Believers, and this passage in Philippians 4:4-8 shows us how. We are to be living on Easter leftovers.

Spiritual life isn’t so different than regular human life in some ways. Garbage in, garbage out. If you have junk food in the house, you are going to eat it. That’s one of the lessons of Passover (what Christians celebrate on Holy or Maundy Thursday in commemorating The Last Supper). Thousands of years before JESUS was born, GOD taught the Jewish people when they were slaves in Egypt that He was about to save them from slavery by a miracle of killing everyone that was not marked by Him (with the blood of a lamb on their door). They had to be within the covering of the blood-marked door and they had to eat a Passover meal (passing over from slavery to freedom) quickly. Part of the activities was to clear out any leaven (yeast), a symbol of sin in the house, because yeast takes time to rise and He told them they were about to leave quickly. To keep yeast in the house when GOD told them to get rid of it meant that they did not believe He would deliver them, or save them quickly. The Last Supper was the last passover meal JESUS had on earth. JESUS was marking those who believe Him; He was dying and would rise again as the blood-marked door to eternal life, with His Blood and Body as the Lamb of GOD who takes away the sin of the world. Judas left quickly when confronted by JESUS Who told Judas to do the betrayal he was about to do quickly. He was the yeast, the sin, that was put out of the house.

But we are humans, so along with all of the good food we may have, we still eat the junk. We still sin. Christians believe JESUS died to give them eternal life through nothing they have done, but completely by what He has done in dying for us. We get rid of sin not to get eternal life but because we have eternal life and sin no longer fits. But because we’re still in bodies, we still sin, like eating junk food even though we know it’s harmful. Since we have eternal life it can no longer kill us Spiritually, but it can destroy our earthly life and even lead to physical death. Instead, this passage calls us to feast on the good things of GOD for whatever time we have left in our bodies, to get rid of the sin and be so full of thinking and doing good, that there is no room for anything else.

When we “get” that we have eternal life, we can’t help but rejoice about it. The worst thing this life has to offer, even death itself, is now a mere inconvenience. No matter how long a problem, illness or situation happens, it can’t outlast death. And we have eternal life. Death is a temporary tunnel but JESUS has already shown us through and will bring us through it when the time comes.

Because we have eternal life, we have nothing to lose by giving to others, helping others and caring about others, no matter what it takes. We’re not out to build a kingdom here, because our King JESUS has already bought us a mansion in His kingdom. So we don’t begrudge anyone anything here. JESUS is coming back for us soon. So if we live until He returns, we are living out the joy of His life, now and to come. And if we die before He comes, we go Home to be with Him. Either way, our security is in Heaven and there is nothing that can happen to us here and nothing we can lose that can take that away.

We remind ourselves of these things through prayer, asking the LORD for what we need to get His purposes done for others for as long as we’re still here, according to His will. This reminder of what He has already done for us and promised and secured for us restores us to peace in any circumstance. We’re busy thinking about what we can do for others so that they can meet JESUS for themselves and have the eternal life we already have. We’re secure in these reminders as if we were surrounded by an army of angels protecting us because we know what JESUS wants done will be done and our part in it is only a privilege He gives us not a requirement for our salvation. We have that already.

And that peace lets us concentrate on what’s really important. My father used to say I had “a fresh head” whenever I wasn’t worried about something he thought I should be worried about. GOD is telling is in this Scripture that it’s okay to have a “fresh head.” When we are at rest and at peace in Him, we don’t “binge eat” on sin and the snacks of this world that seem tasty but are not healthy for us, physically or spiritually. Instead, we can fill up on all of the good things He provides.

GOD Himself is the best example of all good things, because GOD is good and all He is and does is good. So when we concentrate on what is true, we concentrate on JESUS who said “I AM the Truth”, and on His Word the Bible, which tells about Him from cover to cover. GOD alone is worthy of reverence. He is honorable and just and pure. But then we can go to His creation and His actions and think on these things, too. The beauty of nature is lovely, pets and children are lovable. Kindnesses we do for others or they do for us or others do for others. The whole idea of loving and being in love, of having children, even if none of these things are ours we can appreciate them for what they are for others. The world is full of joys and beauty all around us to drink in so deeply that there is no room for anything dishonoring to GOD or to ourselves or others.

If we believe that JESUS Christ has given us eternal life, we can believe that GOD the Father who did not spare His own son but gave Him up on the cross for us all will also give us all other things that are good for us to have and useful for us to bless others for whatever time we have until He returns or until we go to Him. We can feast on these Easter leftovers and never be distracted by what seems sweet but leaves bitterness behind. The best of life is ours for the feasting, now and forever. Eat up.

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