If the idea of living for Christ causes you to wrinkle your forehead, I can relate. My personal journey into understanding what it means began at my grandmother’s funeral. Though I saw her reading her Bible daily, we didn’t talk about it much. When I learned during her eulogy that one of her favorite Bible verses was “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain,” I had two reactions. First, I was impressed. Next, I realized that I didn’t know what it meant.
I was deeply saddened to learn that I didn’t understand something so precious to her. Nevertheless, years passed before I became willing to deal with the things that were blinding me. They were buried deep in my own heart.
I grew up going to church, but somehow didn’t grasp that effectively claiming Jesus as “my Lord and Savior” required something of me—something more than a prayer, something ongoing and life-changing. I had no notion of God’s expectation that I submit to him in everyday life. I saw God as a source of blessings rather than as the ruler of my life.
I had a good plan for my life, and I was pretty sure God was on board with it. It never occurred to me that God has purposes for my life that can differ from and exceed my own. I was on a self-directed, self-preserving, self-advancing path that was prescribed by my culture and my education. Even worse, I counted on God’s forgiveness for persistent behaviors that I knew displeased him. As I went along my not-so-merry way, worry and hopelessness became my most present companions.
Through much discontent, the Lord taught me that only he can satisfy the deep needs of our souls, and that this divine gift is dependent upon our choosing to live for him. Finding the way to live for Christ is possible only when we trust him enough to turn from our old ways and commit to following his ways. He requires that we put aside our personal goals in exchange for his purposes for us. As we continue to come more and more in line with God’s ways and purposes, we experience more of the peace and hope and joy that come with being a child of God.
The next couple of blog posts will explore how to get in sync with God and how to go about intentionally living for him. Knowing that God desires that we live for him and not for ourselves, knowing his promise to help us, I don’t want to waste any more of my life pursuing disappointment. The life lived for God experiences the sufficiency of the King, the love of the King, protection by the King, refinement by the King, and the approval of the King. I want as much of that kind of life as I can get.
- What are some of the things or ideas that have gotten in the way of your wanting to live for God? Were any of those things as satisfying as you had hoped?
- Can you imagine that an all-powerful, sovereign and loving God has better plans for your life than you do? Will you allow yourself to fully trust him with your life, waiting for him to act in accordance with his time frame rather than yours?
Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name. (Psalm 86:11)
(To see Parts 2 and 3 of this 3-part post, please go to What does it mean to live for Christ? Part 2 of 3 ~ Getting in Sync with God and What does it mean to live for Christ? Part 3 of 3 ~ Intentionally Living for God.)
 Philippians 1:21