Living the “Risen Way” is hard! What Jesus did on the cross, how He defeated death and rose from the grave, has set the standard for our Christian living. His resurrection is our launching pad! So let’s get out there and bring the good news to ALL nations! If it were as simple as going from saved to serving, we’d all be doing this well, but life seems to get in the way. I think for many of us, we say we’re saved, but we are still dragging around baggage from who we used to be, before we believed in Jesus. That “old me” wants to creep in and tell the “new me” that I’m not worthy…that what Jesus went through, all the pain suffering and victory, was not for me! Before long, old patterns of behavior slip in and living the “Risen Way” starts feeling so very far away.
Jesus was clear when he was teaching. Repeatedly, He would speak of denying the self, taking up the cross, and losing life to be saved. He was preparing us to live His way. One of my favorite verses in the Bible is John 15:1-27, where Jesus is talking in a allegory, an expanded metaphor, to stress the importance of us being with Him and Him abiding in us. It says:
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine-dresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. …
This allegory can be broken down into characteristics that help us to begin understanding how we can live risen, alive with Christ. First is understanding that God our Father is the “Vine-dresser.” He has done everything in His power to see that we bear fruit! He gave us free will; He loves us and He sent us Jesus! It’s a choice, and by the Father sending the Son, He was showing us the way back to Him.
Jesus, He is the Vine. He calls Himself the “True Vine.” He is the source of life for all the branches: His disciples, us. There is a process in keeping the branches healthy. During this process, as we come into our faith, there will be pruning. It’s not a fun process, but it is during these times of pruning that God prepares us. He removes things, people, circumstances, that are not good for us. Sometimes He cuts us back so we can grow. He reminds us that the old self is gone and we now are identified with Jesus, His Son. During this time, we must cling to the Vine, Jesus, so we begin to see how His ways can become our ways because He is with us to walk us through it.
When Jesus speaks of the word, it’s the very word of God in scriptures. The more we have the word within us, the better equipped we are to do His will. In the word, when Jesus says, “in Me,” it’s to remind us that He is within us always, that living the Risen Way is first seeing the Christ within ourselves. Apart from Him we can’t do much or live such a powerful way of life. In Him, all things are possible! We are alive in Him, not who we used to be, but who we now are with Jesus in us!
It takes discipline. We must be in constant union with our Savior and stay filled up with the Holy Spirit, so that God’s spark ignites the fire in our lives to be able to live the “Risen Way.”
Director of Worship Arts