“If Christ has not been raised, than our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.” (1 Cor. 15:14)
I’ve been thinking alot lately about the concept of positive thinking. Conventional wisdom tells us that if we are able to think good thoughts about ourselves, our lives will follow suit. I can do this! we tell ourselves. People like me, we think. Or maybe we even say, I’m a good person. While its a nice idea, and the logic of it makes sense, I’ve never been able to put it into practice. Every time I think to myself, It’s ok, you’re a good person, it knocks hollowly around my mind. I know deep down this cannot be true. I can put a good face out to the world, but deep inside, I know there is bitterness, ugliness, hatred and even death.
But, the Scriptures tell us that our value is not borne out of the strength of our resolve or the story that we tell ourselves and the world around us, but by a single historical event.
“But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead.” (1 Cor. 15:20)
If Christ has not been raised, I have no reason to keep going. All of my time in church, volunteering, studying and praying has been some kind of weird hobby. I am stuck in my depravity with no hope for me to turn to. I should just give up.
But the resurrection changes everything. Instead of hopeless striving, I have confidence that one day, I will become my true self; the image of God unhindered by the darkness of sin. Instead of pretending to like myself, I will be able to say along with Paul and the prophets “Oh death, where is your sting? Oh death, where is your victory?” This victory will not be mine, but will be given to me by the One who holds death under His feet. Because Christ has been raised, today I know the Living One is crucifying the bitterness, hatred and lies that live in me.There is no room for false pride, but there is also no room for despair. Take heart. In this bitter, ugly, sin-filled world, if you labor in Christ, you do not labor in vain.