6 pm (Fri)
It’s that time of the year again when we reflect upon the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. For years, I felt exuberant during this season because of my two-week hiatus from school. That and the bun and cheese of course—a Jamaican Easter tradition. But as I’ve become older and more mature I’ve sought to truly reflect upon the meaning of Easter and how I could use this time to strengthen my relationship with the Saviour of the world.
For many of us, particularly those who are yet to have a personal relationship with him, Easter is just another season. But it can be more than that. It’s an opportunity to come to know Christ and find a deeper purpose in life. When you come to know him and feel his love, you’ll be able to overcome life’s greatest storms.
But how can you use Easter to come to know the Saviour of the world and strengthen your relationship with him?
- Study scriptures daily
For a few years now, I’ve made a commitment to read my scriptures every day. My schedule may change but I make time nonetheless to read God’s word. Some scriptures like the following have been very instrumental in my life:
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy path (Proverbs 3:5-6).
I know that as we read our scriptures more often we will begin to feel closer to Christ and be guided by him.
- Make and keep covenants
In many instances throughout my life, I’ve met persons who were afraid of commitment – persons who made promises they weren’t willing to keep. They seemed to drift aimlessly without an anchor.
If we want to know God and His Son and feel their influence in our lives, we’ll need to learn how to make covenants and keep our commitments. Take baptism for instance, or marriage. We make promises before God and man to remain true and faithful.
This Easter, whatever our commitments, let’s be willing to keep our side of the bargain and prove to Christ that we are true disciples.
3. Seek to access the atonement
During Easter, I often watch videos that depict the last days of Christ’s mortal ministry. I see him in Gethsemane baring the burdens of the world. I see him with the crown of thorns on his head, his body hung on the cross. I’ve heard the word “atonement” many times but only recently did I begin to understand what it really means.
Christ paid the penalty for our sins so we could become “at one” with God. But he did more than that. He gave us access to His grace—the strengthening and enabling power that allows us to do deeds far beyond our own capacity.
It is this grace that will help us each day not only to “overcome” sin but to “become” better men and women. It is this grace that will help us become who God wants us to be.
- Choose gratitude
Life is full of challenges. Some trials never seem to end. We may often feel like we are carrying an elephant on our shoulders but regardless of our personal circumstances, we can choose to be grateful.
Gratitude is a blessing. It gives us lightness of being, makes us fly even when the world tells us we’ll never soar. It helps us transcend the shadows that surround us and see the light above us.
- Heed his voice
While Christ was ministering in Jerusalem he said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27). Those words highlight an important fact. It is not good enough for us to simply hear his voice. We must choose to follow him. Watching Passion of the Christ this Easter won’t be enough.
Let us draw closer to him by choosing to act, by choosing to “lay aside every sin which easily doth beset” us (Alma 7:15). Let us draw closer to him so that he can draw closer to us. He is standing at the door, knocking. Will you let him in?
- Love your neighbour as yourself
One of my favourite hymns is “Love One Another”. The words highlight how as we love our neighbours as ourselves, we become true disciples of Christ. If we want to gain the blessing of seeing miracles in our lives like disciples of old, we will need to love those around us. After all, how can we profess to love God who we are yet to see, if we cannot love those we see?
As I have loved you,
Love one another.
This new commandment:
Love one another.
By this shall men know
Ye are my disciples,
If ye have love
One to another.
- Build spiritual fortifications for you and your family
This Easter we can strengthen our relationship with Christ by creating fortifications for ourselves and our families. These fortifications keep us away from enemy territory and closer to our Saviour.
Instructions for building fortifications can be found in the scriptures. For instance, Jesus Christ taught that we should “seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). The Apostle Paul also taught that we should not defile our bodies because they are temples of God (see 1 Corinthians 3:16-17).
We can begin a new pattern in our lives this Easter by asking ourselves a few questions:
- Am I seeking Christ first in my life or do I put temporal or worldly things before him?
- Do I try my best to keep his commandments?
- Do I pray to God with gratitude and humility or do I glory in my own strength?
- Do my thoughts or actions defy the body which God has given as a gift to me?
- What more can I do to serve my Heavenly Father and those around me?
As we seek to strengthen our relationship with Christ we build upon his rock — the rock that will help us face the storms of life with confidence. I know that as I have sought to become a better disciple, I’ve felt greater capacity to do good, to overcome my fears and press forward in faith.
May you feel the spirit of God in your life this Easter and in years to come as you strive to put your trust always in Christ—the Saviour and Redeemer of the world.