The resurrection is more than just an event that happened once in history. It's the source of the power you can experience in your own life, every day. The same power that resurrected Jesus from death to life is available to you, and if you tap into it, you'll see amazing transformation in your own life, too.
Here's how you can experience resurrection power every day:
Use the power now, not just in heaven. Your hope of the resurrection isn't just for the future when you physically die and go to heaven; it's also for now, while you're living on earth and struggling with sin. Make use of that God-given power to help you overcome sin right now, and every day you're alive. Regularly confess your sins, repent of them, and embrace the forgiveness and grace God offers you to keep growing.
Trade religion for relationship. Instead of pursuing hope through performing religious rituals, believing right doctrines, or doing good deeds, realize that those things are valuable yet can't produce hope. Place your hope in a dynamic relationship with Jesus. As you live for Him, relying on His resurrection power at work in your life, you'll experience the fulfillment of all God's good purposes for you. Instead of focusing on what you can do for God, focus on what God can do through you.
Set eternal priorities. Ask God to help you see your life from His perspective. Look beyond the world's values (which are only temporary) to what has eternal value. Base your decisions -- for all aspects of your life -- on what matters most in eternity. Make the most of your time here on earth, keeping in mind that it will soon be over and you'll be accountable to God for how you used your time here.
Die to self. Remember that death must always precede resurrection. Be willing to sacrifice whatever selfish desires and agendas you have that conflict with God's purposes for your life. Decide to crucify your selfish attitudes and behaviors, so God will raise you to new life by transforming your attitudes and behaviors into healthy ones that will help you grow to be more like Jesus. Understand that, physically, you're born and live until you die, progressing toward physical death. But spiritually, you're dead until you're made alive through a relationship with Jesus, progressing toward eternal life.
Expect the impossible. Just as the resurrection itself was impossible for anyone but God, the power behind the resurrection will take you into situations that are impossible for you to deal successfully with on your own. Expect God to challenge your faith when you ask for His resurrection power in your life, but know that if you trust Him, you'll experience greater adventures than you can imagine.
Experience resurrection peace. You don't have to live with guilt and shame because of the resurrection's power to forgive your sins. Ask God to flood your soul with the peace of knowing that you're in a right relationship with Him. Recognize that if you're deliberately sinning against God, you can't be in a right relationship with Him, so deal with your sin so it doesn't block the peace God wants you to experience. If you want to experience the peace Jesus offers, you must come to Him on His terms, being willing to live the way He leads you to live -- the way that's best for you. Every day, repent of your sins, so you can enjoy true peace.
Experience resurrection joy. The freedom from sin and hope in Jesus that the resurrection produced brings great joy into your life. If you allow your constantly changing circumstances to control your life, you can easily lose your happiness. But if you allow the Holy Spirit to lead you, you'll experience joy, which will remain constant despite your circumstances. Unlike happiness, joy is more than an emotion -- it's the ability to see beyond your circumstances to the God who has ultimate control over them, and always acts according to what's best for you.
Use your resurrection authority. Make full use the authority you have as a Christian to lead other people to eternal life. The greatest power on earth is to see a person become born again. So, as valuable as it is to minister to people's physical needs, don't stop there. Share the Gospel message with other people as often as you can. By doing so, you'll be helping to release God's resurrection power into their lives. Stay closely connected to God so your life as a Christian will reflect the kind of character and obedience it should. Do your best to live faithfully to represent Jesus well. As other people see God at work in your life, they'll be attracted to Him. Every day, continue to pursue God passionately, and your passion for Him will spark the interest of others around you who can pursue Him themselves.
Experience resurrection confidence. Since God is on your side, you can be absolutely confident in His love and you don't need to be afraid of what the future holds. Whenever you encounter trouble in this fallen world, trust God to lead you through it and accomplish a good purpose in the process. Don't place your trust in anything lesser than God -- like your family, your health, your job, your talents, or your money. Give your allegiance wholeheartedly to God, and you'll experience confidence that can't be shaken by changing circumstances.
Experience resurrection hope. Your salvation means that you don't need to fear death. Expect God to fulfill all the promises He makes in the Bible, and trust those promises in your own life. Don't little life's petty annoyances weigh you down; realize that they're irrelevant compared to your eternal reward in heaven. Live with heaven in mind -- pursuing eternal values -- and rejoice in the hope you can experience every day.
Adapted from Experiencing the Resurrection: The Everyday Encounter that Changes Your Life, copyright 2007 by Henry T. Blackaby and Melvin D. Blackaby. Published by Multnomah Books, a division of Random House, Inc., Colorado Springs, Co., www.randomhouse.com/waterbrook.
Henry Blackaby, Ph. D., president emeritus of Blackaby Ministries, is the author of more than a dozen books, including the best-selling classic Experiencing God. He has spent his life in ministry, serving as a music director and as a senior pastor for churches in California and Canada. Today he provides consultative leadership on prayer for revival and spiritual awakening on a global level. He and his wife make their home in Atlanta, Ga. Mel Blackaby, Ph.D., coauthored with his father, Henry Blackaby, the Gold Medallion winner Experiencing God Together. He travels extensively as a conference speaker. He and his wife and their three children live in Cochrane, Alberta, Canada, where he serves as senior pastor of Bow Valley Baptist Church.