Living for Him Alone

I have believed for a long time in making God first in my life. Everything else should fall in place underneath that relationship. Anything that does not agree with that relationship does not belong in my life.

In Phillip Yancey’s book, “Reaching for the Invisible God,” he mentions that he prays for the grace to live for God alone. That phrase rocked me! It is one thing to live for God first, and everything else takes a backseat, it is another thing entirely to live for God alone.

What does this entail? This means that we don’t simply put God first; we make Him our one and only endeavor. This does not mean that we give up everything else in our lives (no car, no house, no spouse, no children, etc. – just wandering the streets naked like the prophet Isaiah!) When we live for God alone, when God is our only priority, He will take care of all of our needs (a job, a spouse, transportation, a place to live, etc.)

Yancey says, “Thomas Merton found the secret to true freedom: If we live to please God alone, we set ourselves free from the cares and worries that press in on us. So many of my own cares trace back to concern over other people: whether I measure up to their expectations, whether they find me desirable. Living for God alone involves a radical reorientation, a stripping away of anything that might lure me from the primary goal of pleasing God.”

And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’” (Luke 4:8 ESV).

This brings to mind the question, “Who do you serve?” Another way to say this is, “Who do you live for?” Every Christian can quickly answer either of those questions, “God, of course!” But don’t spend too little time thinking on these questions. Every little thing that we do should bear these questions in mind. We should be asking ourselves, “Why am I doing this?” or “Who am I doing this for?” whatever “this” may be.

God is not concerned about some of the things that we are: the style of clothes we wear; whether our hair is natural, colored (to hide the gray), or even if we are bald; the stores we shop in; or the restaurants we eat at. These are just a few examples. Jesus is concerned with the lost and with the broken. Jesus said, “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.” (John 12:32 NASB). This statement was made about His crucifixion. But, as Charles Spurgeon once pointed out, “there is a lifting of him upon the pole of the gospel, in the preaching of the Word.” Christ does not say “if I lift Myself up…” – no, He expects us to lift Him up. How can we do that if we are not living for Him alone?

The steps we take to impress or please other people is absurd. Instead of wasting our effort on building up or improving our status among our peers, we should use that same effort, if not more, on presenting Jesus to those around us. But we can’t do that so long as we are not serving Him alone. We mask the attractiveness of the savior when we say He is Lord of our lives, yet He isn’t truly the Lord of our lives. The throne room of our hearts should only have one throne in it, and that belongs to Jesus. If we ask Him to share His reign with anyone/anything else, then He does not reign in our lives at all.

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