In the last article, I posted on “The Resurrection of Christ,” I briefly discussed how as children of God, knowing that Christ has been raised, that it should change how we live now on this earth. It should lead us to live a life without fear during a pandemic, during a storm, and in our daily trials, because as children of God, we can know that this life is not all that we have. Look with me at what Jesus said,
Mark 8:34–35 And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.
Here Jesus is calling us to fix our eyes on someone greater than ourselves, which is Him. Knowing that we will live for eternity as His children, we don’t need to try to get the most out of this life in a worldly sense. We also don’t have to live as if this is all we have, again in a worldly sense. We should, however, live as if this life is our only opportunity to make His Name known so that others can be saved before the day of judgment. We should live now as if this is our only opportunity to lead our family, our friends, our co-workers, and those around the world, to the one and only Savior Jesus Christ. If that means that we end up losing our lives because we are persecuted, then Jesus taught that we are blessed for it.
Matthew 5:10–12 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Today, however, we live in a world where many Christians are consumed with a lot of things that really have little to do with God and His Kingdom work. They are caught up in the world and consumed with things like making the most out of this life as they can as if it is their only chance to achieve their dreams. Yet, what we forget is that the things that God has in store for us are so much better than anything that we could ever dream of. As we learn from the Apostle Paul, the things in this life are like mud pies compared to Christ.
Philippians 3:8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ
Christ alone should be our greatest treasure, though we are promised in 1 Peter 1:3-4 that God has also given us an inheritance that is imperishable and that it is being kept in heaven for us. However, outside of that, again, Christ is the one who fills us up with joy, and if we got to heaven and Jesus was the only one there, then He alone should be enough. I love this verse,
John 15:11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
Here we see that Christ is the fullness of our joy. King Jesus is not the means to the end; He is the end. He not only laid His life down for us, but He suffered the most horrific death so that we could be reunited with God. For Paul and the other Apostles, Christ was their goal. They were willing to lay their lives down for Him, and according to Mark 8:34-35 as noted earlier, we should be too.
Philippians 1:21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Our focus is to live this life for Him, and if we should die, then it is only gain for us because then we will be with our Savior, and He is worth more than anything, including our own lives.
I don’t know about you, but just thinking about the fact that not only did Christ lay down His life for me, but He did it knowing that I was a sinner who had turned away from Him. This is God’s glorious love for us, as He sent His Son to die for us while we were still sinners.
Knowing this, as His children, and that we are already overcomers, given eternal life, instead of living for us, we can live for Him, seeking to do that which is pleasing to God.
Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
2 Corinthians 5:9 So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.
Now it is absolutely true that we can’t live this life for God on our own or by our own strength, but the good news is that we don’t have to. In 1 Peter 4:11 we are told that whatever we do, whether it is speaking or serving, that it is God doing it through us.
1 Peter 4:11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
By His strength and His leading, we will have what we need to do the work and to face the trials that God has called us too, even if it is to lay down our lives. The question is, “are we willingly submitting to His leading and living a life for Him, or are we seeking to live a life for ourselves?”
Living for Him is not something that we will do flawlessly without failing. As we look back, we see that people like David in the Old Testament stumbled. In the New Testament, we see that people like Peter also stumbled. And I constantly stumble myself, turning back to focus on myself more often than I wish to admit. However, as I have stated in previous blogs, we are already forgiven in Christ Jesus. So, the key is that we repent and that we ask the Lord to help us get back on track, living a life for Him, pursuing Him as our lifelong goal. As Christians, we will not be perfect until we are called up with Him, so we will stumble in this life, but this shouldn’t be an excuse for us to stay in sin. Additionally, as Christians we are seeking to walk in righteousness and though we hate sin, again we will often stumble, whereas those in the world love their sin and they will seek to stay in it. Therefore, if you have been off track as a child of God, don’t stay there. Pray and ask for God to lead you to begin living a life that is pleasing to Him for Him. Doing so, don’t see it as if you are making some great sacrifice to do it, because gaining Christ is worth far more than anything that we will ever give up!