As I read the upcoming lesson for this Sunday, I came across the phrase “living for God”. Having heard the phrase countless times through the years I had not really given it much thought until today. What exactly did that phrase mean? What does it look like for a person to “live for God”? Naturally, one cannot live for God. He does that fine on his own. But apparently one can live with reference to God.
The Bible really does not use that phrase, at least worded like that. But we do see references to the idea of living for God. And, it is no cake walk. Taking up ones cross, dying to self, limitless forgiving, meeting the needs of those serving Christ, transformed by the renewing of the mind, crucified with Christ, all are reflections of what it may mean to live for God. Frankly, I’m not certain I’m equipped to flesh out any of those ideas.
Living for God requires certain levels of grace. A trusting heart. A faithful mindset. A yielding to the Holy Spirit. All of which have a certain flavor of equipping, nevertheless I cannot imagine ever being able to truly live for God. That does not mean I don’t want to, it simply means it is a huge responsibility.
Apparently, some seem to do it almost unconsciously. It appears to be natural for them to reflect the divine. They are almost saint-like. Others, like me, struggle with it daily. Shuffling between what it means to live by faith, terrified of not conforming to the rules set down by someone somewhere, or simply just confused about their obligation. Like the apostle Paul once said, “tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine..(Eph 4:14 NASB)”
The reason this befuddles me is we see so many people in so many venues claiming the name of Christ. Yet, it seems there is no cohesive and consistent manner of life that allows anyone from the outside to say, “Oh, it’s obvious, that person is living for God.” Wouldn’t you think that a natural outcome of living for God is recognition from others that that is what we are doing?
Perhaps the confusion comes from different ideas of “living” or different ideas of God. Naturally, God hasn’t changed but there is ample opportunity for our idea of “living” to change. That’s why culture plays such an important role in faith practices. In addition, ethical issues evolve and sometimes become unrecognizable in the context of faith. Consequently it becomes possible to have a room of fifty believers, twenty-five of whom could be pro-life and twenty-five of whom could be pro-choice. Half could say drinking (not drunkenness) is fine and others would say it is a desecration of our bodies as the temple of the Holy Spirit.
Yes, living for God is a good thing. Deciphering what it means to live for God can be a challenge.
Father Spirit, I admit my uncertainty when it comes to knowing what it means to live for you. What I am certain of is your sufficient grace to help me reflect your glory by being faithful to your word.