The After-Easter Advantage
April 6, 2021
The disciples were never the same after the resurrection, and they spent the rest of their lives becoming more and more transformed. They lived exceptional lives—ones of influence, and impactful. How and why did that happen?
First of all, the simple fact of the resurrection changed everything! They knew for sure that Jesus was and is God! They knew that everything He had taught them was true, and because He was alive, they would live again too. Their fear was conquered because they knew He was God and completely faithful.
The second significant factor is that what He promised about their future and influence was true as well. Jesus had told them, “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him (the Holy Spirit) to you [to be in close fellowship with you]” (John 16:7 AMP).
He did that, just as He said. He sent the Holy Spirit to His disciples, then and now. What’s the advantage to us? Well, we have a constant companion who gives us direction, comfort, insight, and strength as we walk in the Spirit. But the accompanying truth is that the life of the Spirit in us produces fruit. Galatians 5:22-23 tells us what that fruit is: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (NIV).”
God has made available to us the means for leading an exceptional life when we recognize and focus on the things that He tells us are important. It is important to Him that we have more love, joy, and peace in our lives; more patience, kindness, and goodness; more faithfulness, humility, and self-control. These are the attributes of Jesus, and as they flourish in our lives and become our characteristics as well, we are empowered to become all that God created us to be.
Applying the Word of God and cultivating the fruit of the Spirit enables us to lead a life that is attractive and contagious. Though people may never choose to believe what we believe, they will not be able to keep from respecting us. We will be the kind of people they want to hire, the kind of people they want their sons and daughters to marry, the ones they turn to in crisis.
How long will it take to perfect the fruit? Oh, this is a life journey. Who will never need more of the characteristics of Jesus? Who doesn’t want or need more love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control?
LOVE—genuine sacrificial affection for others
JOY—authentic exuberance about life, regardless of the situation
FORBEARANCE—willingness to stick with things through difficulties
KINDNESS—a sense of compassion in the heart
GOODNESS—a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people
GENTLENESS—refusing to force our way in life
SELF-CONTROL—ability to marshal and direct our energies wisely
At first thought, it is hard to imagine that Jesus going away could possibly have been to the disciples’ advantage. But what an advantage we now see it was! It gave them the ability to live exceptional lives and pass the good news of Jesus on. Today it’s our privilege as well.