What (Who) Are We Living For?

By Dylan Stewart | Alabama, USA

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” – (Matthew 6:21). 

Famously, General George Patton was quoted as saying, “Live for something rather than die for nothing.” Many of us have made the distinctly clear choice to live for something/someone today, that being God and our Lord Jesus the Christ. Yet, the manner in which we live can make it less clear that we live for the King of kings. For example, many believe they can compartmentalize their lives into different areas. They believe they can have a work life, home life, personal life, and spiritual life, with no overlap between the separate parts of their lives. This cannot be so. If we have truly dedicated ourselves to living for and serving God, then our spiritual lives must become our entire lives! 

Jesus warns against the false notion that spiritual matters can only be but a portion of our lives. He commands, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27). Thus, to live for Christ and truly serve God in accordance with this command means we must, as the old hymn says, “Render not to any other, What alone the Lord’s should be . . . Give Him all thou hast to give” (Eden Reeder Latta, “Live For Jesus” [1892]). Jesus is telling us that every fiber of our being, every facet of our lives must be committed to loving and serving God. This means that we must hold nothing back from Him because God holds nothing back from us. We must truly commit and dedicate all of our lives and every portion of it to serving God through faith and obedience. 

Jesus explains, “Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after Me cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:27). This means our commitment to Christ must supersede everything else. We must commit ourselves to the Lord in the same way He committed Himself to us – fully and sacrificially. The command is clear: commit to serving Christ, leaving behind everything else that can draw your attention away from Him. Christ must come first in our lives. After all, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62). Those who cannot make this kind of commitment cannot be His disciple and have chosen to live for their own desires rather than the desires and commands of God. 

Paul is perhaps our greatest example of one who followed the Lord’s command of full commitment. The apostle said, “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” (Galatians 2:20). Paul no longer saw his life as his own. Rather Christ, and Christ alone, was his life, which began anew when he became a Christian in Damascus (Acts 9). Paul would even say in Philippians 3, upon recounting all the former things he took pride in, that all he had done prior was nothing for the sake of gaining Christ (v. 7-8). Paul’s pride and pleasures came through living “for Christ’s sake,” even during the most difficult situations (2 Corinthians 12:10). In other words, anything Paul viewed as not contributing to serving God faithfully was seen as unimportant and of no benefit. Can we say the same? If we cannot truthfully say this, then we are not truly living for God and Christ. The Lord has made it clear the cost of discipleship: “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it” (Luke 9:23-24). In essence, the true cost of commitment to Christ is one’s total self-denial, cross-bearing, and the continual following of and living for Him, which provides a picture of sacrifice, selflessness, and service. The cross that Jesus bore epitomized ultimate punishment and humiliation (Galatians 3:13). More than that, it fully demonstrated the love of God (Romans 5:8) – selfless and sacrificial in the giving of His life for the world (Matthew 20:28). What do our crosses look like?

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