“It’s Easter and I have nothing to wear.” Ever said that? No, I can’t say I have, but, that comes as no surprise to my wife or anyone else who knows me. “Fashion consciousness” has never been one of my strengths. But I have heard that sentiment expressed many times during this time of year. Advertising during Easter season heats up as marketers play to that longing for the new.
Easter is when Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. But for the rest of society it is better known as a time for new beginnings, ushering in the new spring season. There is freshness in the air as the winter season has ended. For many, it’s a time to buy a new outfit to create a new look. It is also a great time to take personal inventory, not just how we look externally, but evaluate how we are internally. I encourage you to reflect on these four questions during this Easter season as you look toward the season of new beginnings:
1. Who am I pleasing? (Am I focused on Christ?) 2 Cor 5:9-10 – I have one ambition to be pleasing to Him!
Am I conscious to live before an audience of One (God), or do I value what others think more?If we get it wrong here, everything else will be out of whack and flesh driven. Jesus says in John 14:6 that He is the way, the truth and the life. When I live self-focused it begins to look like . . .
My Way – It becomes my way or the highway. I become angry, resentful and manipulative because I’m driven to control life’s outcomes. I’m anxious and fearful when I become dependent upon others.
My Truth – I stop listening to the truth. I dismiss feedback. I revise history and rationalize past decisions. I’m unwilling to take responsibility for any hurt I may have contributed to in the past.
My Life – I become consumed with finding life in a position, a title or approval from others.
2. Where am I going? (Am I clear in my purpose for my life?)
Do I have a purpose statement for my life that incorporates my strengths, gifts and passions?
Am I assessing my progress and reflecting on my activities by plotting yearly goals in the physical, social and family aspects of life? Does my weekly schedule help me meet my yearly goals?
3. What am I lacking? (Am I continually learning?)
Do I seek out and welcome honest feedback?
Have I written down a personal development plan to help me better accomplish my life purpose?
Am I reading on topics that will help me learn and grow spiritually?
Do I seek out mentors formally and informally to learn personally and professionally?
4. When will I act? (Am I choosing to be Faith-Filled & Proactive?)
What you & I make of life will be entirely dependent upon our proactivity.
A family friend shared a story a number of years ago that was very impactful for one of our daughters. It brought home this point of proactive decision-making. She shared with our daughter, “I’m very careful of who I tell that I’m a virgin.” She then relayed a conversation with her co-worker who she had told she was a virgin and planning to remain one until she got married. Her co-worker was amazed and said, “Well, what if you never get married?”
Our family friend replied, “Then I’ll take my virginity to my grave.” The co-worker was incredulous, “How can you do that? You’re only human!”
“Exactly,” exclaimed our friend, “It is expressly because I am human that I can do it. If I was a dog, I wouldn’t be able to. It’s because I am human that I have the ability to choose. And I choose to remain a virgin until I’m married.”
It is a fact that we are all human and therefore, we can choose right from wrong, better from good, best from better. God is not holding me responsible for what has been done to me or opportunities not afforded me. But I am responsible for what I do with what has been done to me and opportunities afforded me. What proactive choices do I need to make as I enter this new Easter season?
So as the new spring season enters full bloom and you reflect on these four questions, you’ll need to excuse me cuz I need get to the mall. I had my eye on that sharp dress shirt and slack ensemble. Gotta look good, it’s Easter!
1. Who am I pleasing? [Centered on Christ]
2. Where am I going? [Clear in Purpose]
3. What am I lacking? [Continually Learning]
4. When will I act? [Choosing Faith-Filled Action]
Dirke Johnson has a doctorate in Church Leadership and is a professor for the Ministry Degree program at Palm Beach Atlantic University. He also teaches at Cru’s Institute of Biblical Studies and specializes in Leader Development, creating high performing teams. He has years of experience at ministering in urban cross-cultural and international contexts.