Close Enough

The tendency in this day and time is to mark the Easter holiday off the calendar and move on with our schedule and life, never thinking much about it.  Could it be God is inviting you to to examine the resurrection story closer and in more detail - even if you might be a skeptic? Could God have more for you and your life because of the significance of the empty tomb? Might you be settling for a “close enough” lifestyle and missing out on all God has for you?   What if “close enough” is not really close enough?

If Jesus really rose from the dead, what does that mean for you? What does that mean for your life, your schedule, your heart, your soul? Our culture is comfortable with vague God talk or spirituality talk, but what about Jesus? Who do YOU say that He is?  Just another good teacher? A myth? A fable? Or, do you believe he is the risen Lord?  If you do, what does that require of your life?  How is “close enough” really working for you? 

INVITATION:  Enter into scripture this week as we imagine what it must have been like to find out about the resurrection of Jesus three days after the crucifixion.  Pray for God to meet you in scripture this week and to open your heart, mind and soul for what HE has for you regarding the meaning of the empty tomb and the resurrection in your life. 

MONDAY:  Matthew 28:11-13:  There was probably panic in the hearts of the Roman governmental leaders. They had crucified the “criminal” named Jesus and if he was still alive they would look foolish. What might people think? People might think less of them—that they weren’t powerful. Do you ever have these thoughts or emotions when it comes to the topic of Jesus? 

TUESDAY:  Luke 24:13-36: Following the sequence of events in these passages, note the ways the hidden Christ is revealed. Consider journaling and reflecting how God speaks to YOU through the same elements we see in these verses:  1) Body movement (walking, exercising, etc.); 2) Conversation (discussing/talking); 3) Listening (attention to stories, feelings); 4) Printed and spoken word (particularly scripture); 5) Nature (sunset, beauty); 6) Friendship (empathizing with sadness and joy); 7) Hospitality (inviting, visiting); 8) Prayer (blessing the bread); 9) Communion (breaking the bread); 10) Knowing without evidence (as he vanished they knew who he was); 11) Surprise (the guest was really the host; the stranger was really a friend); 12) Celebrating the memory (sharing how hearts burned).   How might you better notice the “hidden Christ” on a day to day basis in your life?  What difference might it make in your life to begin noticing these types of things? 

WEDNESDAY:  John 20:19-30:  Thomas is often referred to as “doubting Thomas.” He was like many of us. He wanted the data. He wanted and needed visuals. He needed to touch Jesus’ wounds for his faith to take root and grow. Jesus accepted that. He knows what we need. What do you need from Jesus to help your faith to grow? Tell Him in your prayers today. Consider sharing with another person. Wait. Watch. Wonder. Look for Jesus to reveal himself to you in a personal way.  

THURSDAY:  Acts 1:3 & I Cor. 15:6:  Jesus made numerous appearances to many people. Do you feel like Easter was just some other day on the calendar? Do you need resurrection and renewal in your life? Consider praying and asking Jesus for just such a thing. Consider beginning each day with a set aside time to just listen for the “still small voice” of God. Turn off your phone, music and the TV. Be still. Know.  Know that He is God and He is faithful. He will begin to move in your heart and life. Often, we are too busy and distracted in our lives of being “close enough” to truly notice and hear Jesus.  Commit to being intentional as you seek Him out this week and in the weeks following.  A question Jesus asks throughout the New Testament is “what do you want me to do for you?”  Imagine Jesus is asking you that question today.  What would your answer be? 

FRIDAY:  John 14:1-6:  The resurrected Jesus has gone to prepare a place for you. Living a life of “close enough” isn’t close enough.  Jesus is THE way, THE truth and THE life. No one gets to God except through the son.  Being “nice” or “spiritual” is not close enough.  What are you going to do with and about JESUS - the resurrected Lord?  Who do YOU say that He is?  Will you choose to make him Lord and Savior and redeemer of your heart and life?  How can you make adjustments in your daily schedule to live a life beyond “close enough?”  

SATURDAY:  Luke 9:22-25:  These verses aren’t always taught because they are not popular. We are to give up our own way, our own desires, and take up our cross daily. We are to give up our very lives for this resurrected Jesus. That is a hard call.  Most people think being “close enough” is good enough.  Is that you?  Jesus’ call is clear.  It is hard. Yet He promises an abundant life and joy in his presence and pleasures forevermore. Are you willing to stop settling for “close enough” in your life and give your life away for the sake of the call of Jesus?