Four verses ago, the Apostle Paul asked If with Christ you died…

Now, in Colossians 3:1, the opposite: If then you have been raised with Christ…

The dying and the raising. We must see both to follow our Lord.

The dying part, we know.

We ache. We grieve. On a thousand anything-but-Good Fridays, we have taken up our cross — alone or abandoned, plans failed, love lost.

Scripture tells us we must taste this death — we must be crucified with Christ. Each hammer blow rings out the false promises of the world, betraying all it cannot offer us, peeling back each cold finger of the temporary from our heart to set us free.

But we also must be raised with Christ.

Our story doesn’t stop at the pain of Friday. It doesn’t even stop at the promise of Saturday. It stops at the glorious, ridiculous, unfathomable triumph of Sunday.

The resurrection is past tense, for Christ and for us. If then you have been raised…

The only way to make sense of the dying, then, is to cling to the raising. To grow, we must move moment by moment from crucifixion life to resurrection life — to live more out of Sunday than Friday.

Otherwise, we are stuck, cycling back and forth between Friday and Saturday. We circle between dying and dragging ourselves out of the grave again with no lasting resolution — between little crucifixions and frightened, shaky, unfulfilled hope.

Sunday life knows that Friday is necessary. We don’t get to resurrection without some nails and crosses. Dying snips at the threads tying us to this world. It reminds us this life cannot keep its promises, and it points us to the world to come.

Sunday life knows that Friday won’t go to waste. Jesus redeems ashes for beauty, pain for treasure, troubles for glory (Isaiah 61:3, Matthew 6:19-21; 2 Corinthians 4:17-18). He tells us better to lose hand or foot or eye — to be maimed and blind to this life — than miss eternal resurrection (Mark 9:42-50). Heartaches make us long for His healing.

Sunday life makes our Saturdays bearable. Friday is crisis and Sunday is victory, but sometimes the hardest work lies in the in-between — the nothing, the waiting, the empty. While the disciples reeled in shock and blankness on Saturday, the righteous and mighty storm of our God was spinning every particle in the universe back into place. Silence does not equal the status quo.

Sunday life gives more power to Sunday than Friday. Friday is temporary, Sunday is eternal. Resurrection life gives more weight, more thoughts, more prayers and more words to what has been made right than what has gone wrong.

Crucifixion and resurrection — these aren’t just the core of His story, but of ours — the very heart of our spiritual growth.

The dying unties us from this world.

The raising fastens us the one to come.

It is how we begin the joys of eternal life here and now —

Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.