Death must precede resurrection. After all, Jesus did it, and the rest is history. And in the case of man, this calls for death to certain things. Perhaps you are ready to die to self and rise with Jesus on Easter. If so, you will need to die to these 10 things:
1. The natural tendency to try to save your own soul.
2. The natural tendency to try to work your way into heaven.
3. The natural tendency to hold grudges rather than to forgive.
4. The natural tendency to use your body however you wish, rather than dedicating it to God.
5. The natural tendency to always focus on yourself rather than on Christ.
6. The natural tendency to look down on others.
7. The natural tendency to take advantage of others.
8. The natural tendency to be controlled by fear, anger, lust, and greed.
9. The natural tendency to "call the shots" regarding the direction of your life.
10. The natural tendency to ignore God.
If you will die to these natural tendencies, you can rise with Christ on Easter. You can experience life as God intended, and you will enter paradise one day. That is, if you stop trying to earn your way to heaven.
No one who tries to work his way into heaven is allowed to enter. Your sin will keep you outside of God's eternal kingdom unless you die to self, and rely upon Christ's sacrifice on the cross for your salvation.
Jesus did all the work that is needed in order for you to be forgiven of your sins. That's what Good Friday and Easter are all about. God's work at the cross and God's gift of salvation provide the ticket to paradise. But you must die in order to rise again. You must die to self if you hope to live for Christ on earth and live with Christ in heaven.
Death must precede resurrection. So are you ready to die? And are you ready to have Christ rise up within your soul as the King of your life? It's an all or nothing proposition. No one gets saved halfway. You are either in God's family, or outside of it. You are either spiritually reborn, or spiritually dead.
So which is it for you? Are you alive with Christ, or dead in sin? Do you live for Christ, or for yourself? And are you willing to hand over control of your life to your Creator, or are you still determined to be the captain of your soul and the master of your destiny?
Real death and real resurrection. That's what Christ did, and it points to the only way you will ever be accepted by the Lord. You can come to Christ by way of the cross, or you can go your own way. But there is no third way. You see, it is impossible to remain neutral toward Jesus. You either go forward with the living Lord, or you end up getting left behind.
Will you be left behind this Easter Sunday, or will you be following Christ on Monday and every day thereafter? Christ's tomb is empty, but what about your heart? Does Christ live in you, or have you refused to allow Him inside? Tragically, many do refuse God's offer of grace and the gift of eternal life.
What about you? Do you want God's gift? Do want the forgiveness of sins Jesus died to give you? Are you ready to die to self and rise with Christ, or would you rather entrust your soul to the pursuit of sin and to the whims of self? Christ will forgive you the moment you repent and believe the good news. In that moment, a person hands over control of his life to Jesus.
Natural tendencies lead one way, while the Holy Spirit leads in a different direction. And only God's way brings people to paradise forever.
Believe and receive, or reject and refuse. It's your life. It's your soul. And it's your future. So choose wisely my friend. You may never again have such a clear opportunity to receive Christ as you do at this very moment.
Simply pray from your heart: "Lord Jesus, I am a sinner. I cannot save myself. But I turn to you today in faith because I believe you died on the cross for my sins, and I believe you rose on the third day. Rise up within me today Lord Jesus. Wash away my sins. And fill me with the Holy Spirit. I need you Jesus. I need your love. And I surrender control of my life over to you. Guide me. Lead me. And bring me into your heavenly kingdom one day. I pray all of this in the precious name of Jesus, the risen King and the Redeemer of my soul. Amen."