(To see Parts 1 and 2 of this 3-part post, please go to What does it mean to live for Christ? Part 1 of 3 ~ Finding the Way and What does it mean to live for Christ? Part 2 of 3 ~ Getting in Sync with God.)
In the first two posts of this series on living for Christ, we talked about finding the way to live for him and his plan for bringing us into unity with him and other believers. Most professing Christians would agree, at least on some level, that God’s way is best and that they want be in sync with him. The extent to which these beliefs steer our lives, though, shows us whether we’re settling for spiritual mediocrity or actually loving God with all of our heart, soul, and mind.
Years after professing my faith in Jesus, I began to feel like my relationship with God was missing something. I sensed that some believers had a palpable connection with God that I didn’t. Their faith was vital and relevant to all that they did. I began learning through these friends’ examples that we are called by God to live willfully and passionately for him.
In Revelation 3, Jesus speaks directly to the condition of my heart at that time. He tells the church in Laodicea that because they are lukewarm in their faith, he will spit them out of his mouth. They had become comfortable in their earthly circumstances. Their passion for God had diminished.
If we are to avoid the judgment that will come to those who are lukewarm, we must attend to our walk with God, being careful to see that what we do and think is in obedience to him. In reliance on the power of the Holy Spirit at work in us, we must commit ourselves again and again to being single-mindedly devoted to God and his purposes. Living for Christ requires ardent and conscious effort. It requires self-discipline and practice.
Without this kind of effort, it is impossible to know God and his ways. It is impossible to give over our will to his in every part of life. When we become true followers of Christ, though, achieving his purposes for his glory moves to the top of our list of priorities. Submission to Jesus becomes a joy and not a burden.
Furthermore, this posture of obedience must permeate everything, not just on Sunday mornings and not just in public, not for the approval of people and not in a futile effort to earn our way into heaven. We become, instead, resolved to yield to God’s refining work in us as a means to accomplish his divine purposes.
So if you have wondered, as I did, what “to live is Christ” means, I hope you will find peace and joy in knowing that it means that our lives are to be lived for him. To experience this kind of life, we must desire Jesus above all else. We must desire complete unity with him. We must desire that our lives be all about him. And we must commit our heart, soul and mind, accordingly.
Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him, and he will act.
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
and your justice as the noonday.
2 Corinthians 5:14-15
For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
- What do you think would be different if you began each day with a prayer asking God to help you live that day for him, ordering your priorities and behaviors in accordance with his will?
- In what areas do you need to seek the Holy Spirit’s help in order to pursue God’s priorities for your life?
- Do you know the peace that comes from making God your top priority, trusting him with everything?
- If you don’t desire God most, pray that he will bring about this change in your heart.
- Pray regularly that God would help you to remember the seriousness of your sin and to hold fast to the thrill of his forgiveness. Ask him to help you remember the distance your unholiness puts between you and him and to be grateful for his work in you to narrow that separation.