Living for Jesus; October 11, 2018

2 Corinthians 5:15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

2 Corinthians is so loaded with important truth! Each day I have great difficulty deciding what I am to focus on, because there are multiple messages in each passage. This verse is of course the basis for a hymn I have known since childhood, Living for Jesus. I am blessed that I grew up singing a lot of Scripture-based, or at least Scriptural, songs, because setting things to music really cements them into our memory. That’s one of many reasons it’s wise to be careful what you listen to. Some songs are unavoidable in society, and that includes some pretty unfortunate ones, but many people spend their days listening to music of one sort or another by their own choice. We need to submit our play lists to the Lord and ask Him what should be filling our hearts and minds. That is exactly in line with what Paul says here. He uses different expressions in different places, but Paul was consumed with the reality that he didn’t belong to himself anymore, because Jesus had paid His own life to purchase him from sin and the devil. If we would only have that same conviction! Something I mention very frequently in counseling is that selfishness/self-centeredness never leads to genuine happiness. At best, it leads to momentary pleasure. I stress that in marriage counseling, but it applies in many other situations as well. The problem is, we all tend to be selfish and self-centered. It doesn’t take much introspection to realize that helping and blessing others feels good, but most of us don’t really carry that thought through to its logical conclusion. Paul quoted Jesus as saying, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35) Jesus gave everything for us, as Paul reminds us in this verse, and we are most blessed when we give ourselves back to Him in return.

This of course applies to me as much as it does to anyone. When I take Communion, I say to Jesus, “Lord, I receive this bread as Your body, and I renew the commitment of my body to you. Use me for Your glory.” It’s been many years since I started doing that, and likewise many years since I started celebrating Communion by myself (with left-over communion bread and, usually, iced tea) every day as part of my morning devotions. (I likewise receive whatever I’m drinking as Jesus’ blood, and ask that it have its full work in and through me.) I wish I could say that I live fully for Christ rather than for myself, but I’m still in process there, rather than at the finish line. It is deeply comforting to know that I will be brought to that finish line when my physical life is finished. (Philippians 1:6) Meanwhile, I try to help others grasp this truth so that they too may experience the peace and joy of living for Christ rather than for themselves.

Father, thank You for loving me so much! Thank You for giving me the privilege of living for Jesus, rather than in a futile, self-centered rat race. Help me communicate the message of Your love more and more effectively to more and more people, so that the lies of the devil may be defeated by Your truth, for the salvation of many and for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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