My first Easter spent in South America was a defining moment in my spiritual growth. There were no eggs to hunt, no bunnies to take pictures with at the mall, and most of all, no risen Savior. Wait a second — what? No resurrection?

A Spooky Easter

On Good Friday, millions flocked to the central plaza to cry over and pray to a Halloween-worthy statue of a dead Jesus encased in a glass coffin. It was both spooky and heart-breaking. On Easter Sunday, everything was quiet. No celebration, no joy, no hope… and my heart for the lost around me was re-awakened to their need for Jesus — the living Savior, not the dead icon in the town square.

Don’t Worry; Be Happy

Easter is my absolute favorite day of the year — more than Christmas or my birthday! Celebrating Christ’s victory over death is the most beautiful moment on the church calendar. When we as believers focus on the resurrection, hope floods our hearts, and joy radiates from our lives to those around us. We are reminded that we are who we are because of the resurrection.

Peter, the apostle and close friend of Jesus, knew the all- encompassing importance of living with Christ’s resurrection at the center. In 1 Peter 1:3-4, he writes, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you…” Peter uses such uplifting words: great mercy, new birth, living hope, inheritance… all because of the resurrection!

The recipients of this letter really needed this reminder of God’s promise of life and His great power. They were undergoing intense persecution at the hands of both Jews and Romans. Many were killed; others were enslaved. Discouragement was everywhere. Peter didn’t offer a simple, half-hearted, “Don’t worry, be happy.” Instead, he reminded them of their Savior who defeated death so that they could have a living hope and trust His promise of eternal life through Him, their unfading inheritance.

A Walk Worth Taking

Maybe you’re struggling in your walk with Christ right now. Overwhelming anxiety, depression, sadness, brokenness — the list could go on and on! There are times when you’re tempted to walk away from Christ and depend upon the world, which will only disappoint you. Before you make that mistake, dear friend, consider the resurrection! Work to make it the central attitude of your life. Focus on Christ, your unfading inheritance and the One who defeated the enemy for your soul’s sake! Peter continues to encourage believers to “…greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials” (1 Peter 1:6).

The resurrection is our hope! We do not serve, pray to, and worship a dead body, powerless and decayed. Instead, we celebrate with our whole lives the living Jesus who is victorious and mighty to save. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15 that if Christ isn’t alive, we are foolish and our faith is useless (verses 14-19). However, Jesus did come back from the dead and our faith has a glorious purpose! One day, we will see our living Lord face-to-face, and He will grant us immortality, removing every bit of worldliness from us. On that day we will ask, “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:55).

Paul says in verses 56-57 of 1 Corinthians 15, “The sting of death is sin… But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” That is why I love Easter! I embrace the centrality of Christ’s victory over death and His power to save me from that which I deserve. Because of the resurrection, we have hope. Because of the resurrection, we have joy. Because of the resurrection, we have life. So I encourage you to live with Christ’s resurrection in mind and make it the overarching attitude of your life!