99 Days of Losing
I live in Philadelphia, and it’s been a tough year for fans of our professional sports. In the span of 99 days, three Philadelphia teams lost in the championship game: soccer, baseball, and football.
But it hasn’t always been so bad. In 2008, the Phillies won the World Series, and in 2018 the Eagles won the Super Bowl. I live on the edge of Center City, and the city went crazy the nights Philadelphia won.
The celebrations were unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. A seemingly endless number of people spilled onto Broad Street late at night to celebrate the team’s victory.
A few days after the celebration, I walked down the very same street. It was shockingly different. I wanted to relive crowds of strangers hugging, high-fiving, and shouting joyfully. But the city was empty, silent, and littered with trash.
Sometimes I wonder if the same is true of the church of Jesus Christ after Easter. We celebrate this Sunday with such passion, as we should, but it seems that just a few days later, we fall back into the same mundane pattern of everyday life.
It’s almost as if Easter hasn’t happened.
Last week, in preparation for Easter Sunday, I wrote about 1 Corinthians 15:58: “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”
I want to revisit this life-changing verse in the hopes that it might continue, or rekindle, a post-Easter celebration lifestyle.
There are three practical applications of Easter Sunday that should shape the rest of the 364 days of our Christian living:
1. Easter Sunday comforts us to live with stability: The unpredictable and unpleasant realities of life in a fallen world are guaranteed, but we can “be steadfast and immovable” even when we don’t understand what’s happening. Our Risen Savior rules over everything that would confuse us!
2. Easter Sunday motivates us to live with activism: If Christ rose from death, reigns in power, and is returning, we should be the most motivated community on earth, “always abounding in the work of the Lord.”
3. Easter Sunday assures us to live with hope: If the Resurrection guarantees eternity, then we believe that our suffering and ministry “is not in vain.” Of course, life and ministry will get discouraging; it may seem that there is no end in sight and progress is invisible. But a Second Coming is coming, and we will be rewarded for our faith.
Yes, Easter Sunday should be the most celebratory day of the year for Christians. But don’t let your celebration end after Easter Sunday, and don’t wait until next Easter Sunday to remember these promises.
We believe in victory. We believe in transformation. We believe in deliverance. We believe in life—abundant life today and eternal life forevermore.
We believe in the resurrection.
And because we do, let this confidence in the Risen Christ shape your everyday life.
Paul David Tripp
1. How have you experienced loss this year? If the loss you have experienced recently has not been significant, how have you experienced significant loss in your lifetime?
2. How have you fallen back into “resurrection amnesia” only three days after Easter Sunday? That is, this week, how have you already forgotten the power of the Risen Christ that is yours by grace and made decisions that were not influenced by the gospel that you proclaim? Be specific.
3. How is your life unstable at the moment? How can you be steadfast and immovable despite the uncertainty of life in a fallen world?
4. How would you define “the work of the Lord” and, more specifically, identify the gifts the Lord has given you to abound in his work? Why might you not be abounding as much as you should? What is distracting you from the work of the Lord?