What Am I Living For?
A Christ-Centered Life
What do you center your life on? What, or who do you live for? Some live for riches. They spend their lives accumulating wealth, only to find that, in the end they die and leave it to those who may squander it. You can't take it with you beyond this life, and it cannot buy true happiness even while we live. Also, money is a good servant, but a terrible master.
Some live for fame, only to find that it is a fleeting thing. Those who were famous 50 years ago are barely remembered now, and only by a few.
Power is no different. World leaders and dictators have come and gone throughout the centuries with little to show for their having been here. And yet there continues to be those who would give everything for the chance to rule.
Still, others live for family. Yet, as noble as that may seem, we can't help wondering if there is anything greater that makes life meaningful.
Many search for the perfect "cause" to devote their time to in order to make them feel that their lives are worthwhile. However, this can never substitute for the true meaning that comes from a right relationship with God.
I. Christ Our Life
It was the Apostle Paul who said: "For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." (Philippians 1:21). What a perspective on life to have. Jesus, for the believer, is not just to be the center of our lives. He is to be our life. Everything that we think, do or say is to go through the lens of whether or not it will bring glory or shame to the name that is above every name in this universe, or any other.
This goes against our natural sinful tendency to put self first. We want to be on the throne. However, this kind of selfish life will never lead to ultimate fulfillment or lasting happiness. We were designed for God's pleasure and, it is only through seeking His Kingdom and His righteousness that we find that life really makes sense.
A Beautiful Song
II. Loss Without Christ
Recently, someone I knew died. She was a wonderful person who had everything this life could offer. She was a businesswoman, who was young, rich and very popular. This lady had many friends, a loving husband, and four beautiful children. Yet, seemingly in the prime of her life, she was struck down by a rare virus and died before she reached the age of 40.
The good thing about this story is that this young woman knew that life is more than just riches and fame. She knew Christ as her personal Savior. And because of this, she could say, with the Apostle Paul, "to die is gain." Live for money and to die is loss. Live for fame and to die is loss. Live for anything other than the Lord Jesus Christ and death will strip you bare. You take none of that to the grave with you. You lose it all and more. You ultimately lose your own soul in Hell (Matthew 16:26).
With Christ, we become heirs and joint heirs of the Son of God (Romans 8:17). We will spend eternity enjoying the wonderful victory that Jesus accomplished when he rose from the tomb, triumphant over sin, death and the grave. And nothing will ever separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39).
III. True Life Beyond Life
For the Christian, we can be certain that there is life beyond this short existence we have on this earth. And when a loved one dies in Christ, we may feel sad because we don't have the joy of having the fellowship with them anymore as long as we live on this earth. However, we must never sorrow as those who have no hope (I Thessalonians 4:13). Indeed we will see our Christian loved one again. And we don't need to feel sorry for them because they are now experiencing the joys of Heaven that we on this earth have only dreamed about. They are absent from the body and present with the Lord. (II Corinthians 5:8). And they are more alive now than they ever could have been in this present life. It is true life that will never again come to an end. Rather than a thing to be feared, death is now a passageway to all the promises of heaven.
Someone has paraphrased Philippians 1:21 by saying: "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is more Christ." Living for Jesus is indeed the greatest adventure one could have on this earth. It is a life of fullness and blessing and is the only wise use of the limited resources and time that we have been given on this planet. Let us not waste our time on anything less. In the truest sense, nothing compares to a life spent in service to the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. And truly the benefits are out of this world. Let us never settle for less than the best that our Lord has to offer. We will never regret it, in this life, or the one to come.
© 2014 Jeff Shirley