What do you live for? I’ve known people who live to work, to eat, to play a sport, for pleasure, to travel, and for many other things. What would God say you live for? Usually we are passionate about the things we live for. We think and talk about them and make room in our schedules to do them. We might even say we love them. I aim to engage you at a deep level and help you rethink your life and relationships with God and others. The rich young ruler, the woman at the well, the tax collector, and all of Jesus’ disciples were faced with these questions in some form or another: Who are you living for? Will you live for me? The reason these questions are so important lies in the fact that it is our nature to get things out of order, and to follow Jesus requires single-mindedness.
Alma and I are classic examples of getting our priorities mixed up. It’s easy to do. We met when we were 16 and were each on a quest to be happy. Having allowed ourselves to be brainwashed by the movies, TV shows, and pop music of the ‘60s and ‘70s, we were looking for romance and dreaming of finding that person with whom we would live happily ever after.
If someone had asked us what we lived for, our answers would have been multifaceted. Even though we thought we were Christians, we lived for many other things than to know God and to love with Jesus. I lived to play sports, to secure happiness from Alma, and to serve others so they would like me—in that order. In summary, we lived to be loved by everyone around us, and we believed that achieving that goal would be satisfying. Living for God was way down our priority lists, and living to know God and to love with Jesus wasn’t even on the radar screen.
As a result of making these goals our gods, within a very short time in the beginning of our dating relationship and then our marriage, we were in bondage to one another. As we began building our relationship, we ran into the problem of mutually exclusive expectations. My happiness was tied to her making me happy and hers was anchored into me fulfilling her desires. We didn’t realize it, but our misplaced expectations and mixed up priorities were destroying us. The faulty foundation of our marriage was crumbling under the weight of our selfishness and wrong ideas about God and the purpose of life. Although we didn’t think about this at the time, we were also joyless. Unfortunately our shaky marital state went undetected by our peers because, in our pride and hypocrisy, we never let our true selves be seen. Occasionally, the facade would crack, and the real state of affairs would become evident. Sadly, we were skilled at keeping up good appearances. The fact was, we were confused, misinformed, and ill-equipped both spiritually and emotionally for life, but God has used that season for good.
Our tragic failure to love each other, our children, and others motivates us now to know God and to live to love with Jesus. It was in the midst of that mess that Jesus met us and posed the question, “Who do you live for?” The answer was obvious. “For ourselves.” Had we not been broken and mended by God’s grace and mercy, I’m sure we would be listed among the marriage and family casualties of our time. We needed a wake-up call, and God graciously sounded the alarm. Do you need a wake-up call as well that invites you to rethink what you live for and redirects you to fulfill God’s vision for your life? God wants to overwhelm His people with His love and my aim (and the aim of my book, Live to Love) is to provide a means by which He can wake His church up and restore her to the purpose for which He saved them—to live to know and love Him and to live to love with Jesus.
As you begin 2021, I hope you’ll rethink your purpose in life. Can it be affected by things and events that can change? If so, you’re living on shaky ground. I hope you’ll consider that God has called you to live to love with Jesus. You can find out more about the Live to Love Adventure at www.livetolovewithjesus.com. Check it out, and join the adventure! The next few months, we’ll consider seven convicting and convincing reasons you should rethink what you live for and become passionate and intentional about living to love with Jesus.