Living for Jesus

At the end of my Freshman year of high school, I turned away from following Jesus. I went the way of the world. Later, while I was serving in the military, I recommitted my life to Christ. It happened one night while I was sitting on my bunk. God spoke to me and more or less said – “No more riding the fence. You are either going to live for me or you are going to continue to live for yourself.” I know my decision would have eternal implications.

Fast forward a couple of years. I was living at home with mom and I thought back to that moment when I recommitted my life. Satan began to try and get me to doubt my salvation. He wanted me to believe that I wasn’t saved back then. And, if I wasn’t saved back then, how could I be certain I was saved now. This was unsettling to me, but something I was quickly able to overcome.

But that is not the case for some believers who struggle with certain sins in their life. Satan is quick to say – “If you were saved, you wouldn’t be doing those things.”
Our focus for 1 John has been – “A test of genuine faith”. Two Sundays ago we saw the first test which was – “Do you acknowledge sin?” When you acknowledge the reality of sin and the fact that you do sin, that is a strong indicator that your faith is genuine.

This past Sunday we looked at the 2nd test which was – “is there a desire to sin-less”. In 1 John chapter 2:28 – 3:10, John made it very clear that those who are children of God do not keep on sinning. But we know that until we go to be with Christ we will continue to commit sin. So, how do we reconcile that truth with what John said?

As a follower of Christ, I may not be sinless, but I do desire to sin-less. John was conveying the idea that those who have been born-again will have a desire to not continue to sin. Even though they will continue to commit sin, they will wrestle with that sin and it will likely weigh on them. Now can a believer get caught up in living in sin? Sure, but at some point, God will bring them to the place where they will have to deal with it.

I also conveyed the thought that one can be saved and live in rebellion as I did for about 9 years of my life. At that time, I was not living for Jesus. So one can say that I was living in sin. I was asked this morning a question about living for Jesus. Here is the question:

“You asked us if we are living for God. So I have been trying to answer that, do I live for God? I was wondering what that looks like in real life and if I’m not living for God, how can I change and live for Him?”

As I said, there was a time when I was not living for Jesus, so I know what that looks like. I did what a lot of unsaved people do. I got drunk numerous times, sex outside of marriage, tried drugs a couple of times. But it was more than that. I was not in the word of God, I did not pray, I was not a part of a church family. I did not seek God for direction in my life. Accept for a couple of occasions, I did not think about God at all. Self was on the throne of my heart, not God.

After recommitting my life to Jesus, I began to live for Him and continue to do so today. But what does living for Jesus look like in real life? What does that look like in my life?

Yes, I am in the word of God. Yes, I pray regularly. Yes, I am part of a church family. But it is so much more than that. I want what God wants for my life. I try to make it a point to seek His direction for my life, not mine. He is the most important person in my life and hopefully, that shows in how I live.

I left my church family, friends, and family in Phoenix because I am living for Jesus. I live in a small town in Northern Arizona because this is where God led me. Holbrook is what I would describe as a scenically challenged place. It has not grown in the 20 plus years I have been here. Like all communities, it has its issues. You have to commute about 45 minutes to an hour for major stores. Not there is not much in the way of medical facilities. But I love being here because this is where God wants me to be and I am living for Him.

I will continue to live here and pastor this church family until He takes me or directs me elsewhere because I want to live for Him. The woman whom I have been married to now for 32 plus years, I married because that is what God wanted for me. I had a plan to become a computer programmer or get into computers in some way. But God had a different plan for me. I admit God’s plan was better, but I chose God’s direction because I was living for Him. I love what God loves and hate what God hates. I am not ashamed for others to know that I follow Jesus, because I am living for Him.

Bottom line, when you are living for Jesus, you will make life about Him, not about yourself. You won’t do it perfectly, but it will be the pattern of your life. If you're not living this way, what do you need to do to change that? I would say several things.

First, you need to acknowledge that you are not living for Him and confess it. Then you need to repent of it. That means you stop yourself in your tracks and make a 180 degree turn and commit to living for Him. You also need to pray and ask Him to make Him the most important person in your life. When He becomes more important than you, you will find yourself living for Him even if it is not perfect.

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