I’m FREE!~My Resurrection Story
April 24, 2014
I WAS DEAD (Ephesians 2:1-3)
This past Friday, I was among several celebrating Good Friday who were asked, “What does Easter mean to you?” My answer was, “FREEDOM.”
When I was a toddler, my mother was searching. Thinking she’d found the “right” religion, she chose and raised me the way she saw fit. This religion was performance-based, so that’s what shaped my view of love. So my journey and lifelong search for satisfying love began.
I grew up believing that I was only loved because of the good things I did – good grades, hours spent in ministry, etc. This conditional love shaped my ability to feel loved in relationships as I grew up as well. I thought – They’ll love me only if I say “yes” to every request and buy nice gifts. I wouldn’t dare say “no” without feeling extreme guilt. I was miserable.
Eventually I broke away from the religion, but continued carrying the weight of those conditions. I went with the flow of the friends I sought out and found. You know the kind, no one is judgmental and everyone does whatever they want without being challenged by the group. I made lots of mistakes that have lasting consequences to this day.
BUT GOD (Ephesians 1:19)
That’s all in the past now. Pastor defined “but” as a conjunction that is more powerful, holds more weight that whatever was said before it. He said that God’s BUT made everything I did wrong in my life past tense. When I was pondering the sermon for Easter along with Ephesians chapter 1, verse 19 stood out to me as the power that IS – BUT GOD. Paul prayed that we “understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him…” God has and uses His power to “flip the script.”
I had it all wrong. I spent my life believing based on what I’d been taught and how I’d been treated that there was something I could do to EARN God’s approval. I didn’t know that just like everyone else, my efforts were futile. We all deserve death (separation from God) because we “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) No wonder I kept falling flat on my face continuously missing the impossible mark.
HE LIVES (Ephesians 1:20-23)
If there was nothing I could do, what’s the point? How could I ever please God and be close to Him, feel close to Him, if I couldn’t be close to or feel close…FEEL LOVED by any human being? The answer is JESUS. He already defeated death, so I can defeat death too. Jesus died a death he didn’t deserve, to take our place once and for all time so we don’t have to die. In verse 20, “God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him first from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms.”
BUT GOD (Ephesians 2:4-5)
I deserve death, but God’s mercy. Mercy meaning that I’m spared from receiving what I deserve for the bad things I’ve done. He’s rich in this great mercy and is looking for someone to spend it on.
I LIVE (Ephesians 2:6)
God loves me unconditionally. WOW! There’s the power. There’s the hope. There was nothing that I could have done to deserve God’s love. I’m loved because He IS love. He doesn’t want anything FROM me. He wants something FOR me. It took a while for me to wrap my mind around that. It’s still hard at times to keep from getting pulled back into the performance-based lifestyle. I have to remind myself that it’s okay to say, “No.” I can now do things for God, and others because I want to, and not out of compulsion and desire for some illusive reward. I now serve out of great gratitude instead of lack or want. I now feel and know that I am LOVED BEYOND MEASURE. (John 3:16 & 1 John 3:16) That’s freedom to me. Oh joy!
THE PRICELESS GIFT (Ephesians 2:8-9)
I’m so glad to know that it’s not whether I’m good or bad that’ll get me into heaven. After all, who’s all good all of the time. We all make mistakes on a daily basis. God’s grace, His free gift, saved me from death. Just like Jesus, I can defeat death too. I don’t have to jump through the hoops that I’ve been creating for myself most of my adult life anymore. All I have to do is get the gift that Jesus has already paid for, open it, use it and enjoy it. All I have to do is respond to God’s love by placing my faith in Jesus. I went and got my gift from the table and my life hasn’t been the same since.
Do you have a resurrection story? Or is your gift still waiting on the table with your name on it? Don’t hesitate to come open your gift. We’d love to welcome you into God’s family. We’re waiting and praying for you at The Heights.
About the Blogger
Celine Parker is a native Washingtonian and a member of First Baptist Church of District Heights where she is actively involved in several ministries. She attended DC Public Schools and University of Maryland University College where she earned a B.A. in Business Management. She enjoys learning, reading, movies and writing about her experiences with God. She resides in the Washington DC area with her beautiful daughter, Darynn.