Have you ever done something that you knew a friend or a family member wouldn’t want you to do? How did you know they didn’t want you to do it? Perhaps they had told you in the past. Or perhaps you know them well enough to recognize they wouldn’t like it.
In the same way, have you done something in order to make another person happy? How did you know it would make them happy? Perhaps you picked up on some verbal cue they mentioned? Or maybe you’ve just known them long enough to have an idea of what makes them happy?
2 Corinthians 5:14-15 (NLT) Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. 15 He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.
In our last entry, we were discussing this scripture and I wrote that our goal should be to discover and pursue what God wants for our lives. I don’t know about you, but to me saying something like that seems very idealistic. What does it mean? How do we know what God wants? What does really mean to live for Christ?
We tend to over complicate, or over mystify some of these simple spiritual concepts. Learning what pleases God is much the same as learning what pleases any other person. We gain this knowledge through relationship. It is through relationship, spending time talking with them that we learn what someone likes or dislikes, what will make them mad or what will make them smile.
If we want to know what it means to live for God we have to get to know Him. We have to spend time with Him, talking to Him, asking Him questions and letting Him speak into our lives. Honestly, it is pretty incredible that we get to have a relationship with Him at all! We get to pray and come into His presence.
Ephesians 3:12 (NLT) Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.
At one time humanity was cut off from the presence of God, and now we have free access to talk to Him anytime we want. We have His Word, this incredible book that tells about Him. Read it! See how GOOD Jesus was and how wonderful God is. See the promises He has for your life. Learn what pleases Him. Learn what displeases Him.
Growing in our relationship with God takes time and intentionality. Meaning we have to do it on purpose. Daily making that decision of pursuit. As we do something within us begins to change. The things that are important to us begin to change. We begin making decisions not on what will bring US pleasure, but what will benefit GOD’S KINGDOM.
The final part of 2 Corinthians 5:15 says, “they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.”
Sometimes when reading the scripture a word or two just jump out at you and come alive in your spirit. That’s what happened to me when I read the words “FOR THEM”. Jesus didn’t just die, look around and proclaim, “NOPE, I don’t care for this being dead thing, I think I’ll try resurrection now.” It wasn’t a decision motivated by personal gain. Jesus did it FOR YOU and FOR ME. He wanted to bring US life, to give US the gift of the Holy Spirit!
Hebrews 12:1-2 (NLT) …Let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame.
I am fully convinced WE are the joy that was set before Him! He endured the cross for us and now we have to wrestle with the questions, will we live for Him?
I would encourage you today to examine your own heart. Here are some questions to help with that.
How would my life look different if you truly lived every day for Christ rather than myself?
How would the way I talk to people change?
How would the way I talk about people change?
Would the way I approach school or work change?
Would I still spend my free time the same way?
Would I still choose the same entertainment?
Would I still have the same hobbies?
How would my prayer life change if I were really wanting to get to know Jesus?
Do I really live out what I say you believe?
As we are working through questions like these, often God begins to reveal areas for us to work through. As they are revealed we now have the hard choice to make. Do we begin to commit those areas to the Lord, or do we walk away and forget what was revealed?
James 1:22-24 (NLT) But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. 23 For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. 24 You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like.