You Are Not To Live Unto Yourself
By: Brian A. Yeager
Many people wake up every day with no other focus than themselves. We’d be fools to think that such a mindset does not creep into disciples of the Lord (Matthew 20:20-28). People have long sought to be followers of Christ for some selfish reason (i.e. John 6:1-27). When each of us [faithful Christians] properly obeyed the Gospel of Christ we chose to set aside ourselves and be selfless followers of the Lord (Matthew 16:24-27, Luke 9:57-62, and Luke 14:25-33).
Our marching call is to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33). Here at the Sunrise Acres congregation we even sing a song to our Lord and each other that states that marching call. Look at our songbook. The song is number 249. I have it online as well (http://www.wordsoftruth.net/studyingthesongswesing_seekeyfirstanswers.html). Do we mean the words of that song when we sing them? Are we lying to God and each other by saying those words, while doing something else? You answer that one for yourself!
Studies, such as this one, are important for various reasons. One of those reasons is that we live in a world that tries hard to get us to be self-centered. As disciples of the Lord, we are not to be conformers to this world (Romans 12:1-2 and I Peter 4:1-5). Pleasing God must be our motivator to do this and all things that are pleasing to Him (Colossians 1:10). As indicated already in this article, this starts with living unto Him rather than unto ourselves.
Live Unto Him Which Died For Us
Notice what Paul said, by inspiration, to the Corinthians: “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again” (II Corinthians 5:14-15). We have been brought unto spiritual life, wherein we were once dead because sin, by Christ (Ephesians 2:1-5). We are now ALIVE. This is cause to rejoice. It is also cause to live. The problem is in what some define as living.
We exist to please God (Revelation 4:11). Living isn’t accomplished unless we are doing that. There is certainly a difference between existing and living. A lot of people exist, but are dead (I Timothy 5:6). We are made to be really alive through having our sins forgiven (Colossians 2:13).
Now that we are alive, doesn’t our Lord deserve our focus to be on Him since He is the one that paid the price to bring us to life? Remember, Jesus gave His life as a ransom for us (Mark 10:45 and I Timothy 2:5-6). He has paid for us. What do you do with something you pay for? Do you expect whatever that thing is to be under your authority and to act in a way that is pleasing to you? Don’t we belong to Him? What does that mean then?
We Belong To Him
The Scriptures clearly show us that we [faithful Christians] do not belong to ourselves. Notice: “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's” (I Corinthians 6:19-20). God expects none of us to live unto ourselves (Romans 14:7). Jesus gave himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works (Titus 2:11-14).
So, let’s put this in terms we can all relate to. Why do you purchase a vehicle? What do you expect out of that vehicle once you have purchased it? Would you be happy with your vehicle if it had a mind of its own and did whatever it wanted to do? Would you be happy if you went to your vehicle expecting to travel somewhere and that vehicle wasn’t there? How long would you keep that vehicle if it somehow refused to surrender to your will?
I know we are not automobiles. Don’t get lost in the illustration. Just understand the principle that our Lord purchased us and expects us to be His people that zealously do what He calls good works (Ephesians 2:10, Titus 2:7-8, and Titus 3:14). We are to be a people that practice those things that are acceptable unto Him (Matthew 28:18-20, Ephesians 5:20, Colossians 3:17, and II John 1:9). We should act like we belong to Him with great joy.
Living As His Purchased People With Joy
The Psalmist said this well here: “I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart” (Psalms 40:8). Jeremiah said: “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O Lord God of hosts” (Jeremiah 15:16). Being a follower of Christ is a life of joy and happiness (I Peter 1:3-9). His instructions are not burdensome when you really are a faithful follower (Matthew 11:28-30 and I John 5:2-3).
We should just be of the mindset of pleasing God. Jesus was of that mindset. When Jesus was talking about His future crucifixion (John 8:28), He said this: “And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him” (John 8:29). Our motivation to fully surrender to the Lord is a forward-looking motivation. We are looking forward to the Resurrection and nothing else should matter (Philippians 3:3-17).
In the Old Testament, when justification was not even possible (Acts 13:38-39), the faithful were happy people (Psalms 144:15). How much more joy should we have seeing we have greater knowledge and hope than anyone of old ever could? How much more joy should we, who have been purchased, have than anyone else? You answer that one for yourself!
As we conclude this study, consider these words as our fitting conclusion: “For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living” (Romans 14:8-9).
Volume 16 – Issue 12 - December 6th, 2015