One of the most important things you can believe in as a Christian is Easter.
Easter is a celebration of what Jesus Christ came to do. God came to earth in the form of a human being, died on a cross for our sins and rose three days later to prove he was who he said he was.
Why did he do it?
The most famous verse in the Bible is John 3:16. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
Jesus says whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life.
But what does it mean to really believe in Jesus? I think a simple acrostic says it all – FAITH.
F: Follow his example
Twenty-one times in the Bible Jesus says, “Follow me.”
He didn’t say follow a principle, program, religion or code of ethics.
He said, “Follow Me.”
The takeaway is, God wants a relationship with you. He isn’t interested in religion. He’s interested in you.
A: Accept his grace
What is grace? Grace is when somebody does something for you that you don’t deserve. Or in the case of faith, God gives you what you need and not what you deserve.
One of the things we need most is forgiveness.
How do you get grace? You can’t earn it, work for it, buy it or deserve it. The only way is to admit you need it.
Then you say, “God, I need your grace. I’m not perfect. I need your forgiveness and I need you in my life.”
Have you accepted
I: Invest my life for him
You only have three choices with your life. You can waste it, spend it or invest it.
We all know the ways to waste and spend your life. You can spend your life making money, storing up possessions and trying to get pleasure, power, popularity or become famous.
But life’s purpose is not to pile up possessions. The greatest things in life aren’t things.
God has a plan for your life. Great intentionality went into you. You’re not an accident. God made you on purpose and for a purpose. Living out his purpose brings satisfaction, significance, meaning and fulfillment.
What are you doing with what you’ve been given? Are you investing your life for God?
T: Trust his wisdom and strength
Colossians 2:6 says “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him.”
That’s how it works. Trust him at the beginning of this life of faith, and then trust him with each day’s problems.
Sometimes people say, “I’ve tried that religion thing. It just didn’t work for me.”
Here’s the problem with that phrase: It’s in the word tried. Faith is not about trying, it’s about trusting.
Some are at the end of trying. They have tried in marriage, at school, in a relationship and in business.
When we get to the end of trying, Jesus meets us there and says: “Trust me. I will lift you up. I will give you wisdom, and I will give you strength.”
H: Hold on to his promises
Did you know the Bible contains more than 7,000 promises from God to you? One of the great promises is in Romans 8:38 and 39.
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Hold on to his promises and believe your beliefs.
After all these years, what I’ve seen as the core reason people won’t believe in Jesus is fear. Not pride, stubbornness, intellectualism or ego, but fear. I’m afraid of losing control. I’m afraid of giving up control to God. I’m afraid of letting God be God in my life.
How do you get what Jesus offers at Easter? How do you take that first step?
Simple. Let go of your fear and trust him. Don’t let fear keep you from the greatest thing ever.
The Rev. Scott Hearn is the senior pastor at Gainesville First United Methodist Church in Gainesville. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.