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Living for God

So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude he had, and be ready to suffer, too. For if you have suffered physically for Christ, you have finished with sin. You won’t spend the rest of your lives chasing your own desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God. You have had enough in the past of the evil things that godless people enjoy—their immorality and lust, their feasting and drunkenness and wild parties, and their terrible worship of idols. (1 Peter 4:1-3 NLT)”

I went to the best school in the country, the University of Texas at Austin (of course)!  And if there is one day that is like a national holiday for alumni and fans of Texas, it is TX/ou weekend.  Each year, thousands upon thousands of current students, alumni, and fans converge on Dallas to watch the Red River Shoot Out between the University of Texas and the University of Oklahoma.  With everything being bigger and better in Texas, you can only imagine the magnitude of celebration and parties held that weekend.  Yet for the first time since I stepped on the campus of the University of Texas, I will not celebrate TX/ou weekend at the same level and intensity as I have in the past (I will still celebrate however).  Now exactly what level that has been in the past, I will leave that for you to surmise.  LOL Yet my decision to do so is in direct correlation to the journey I am walking with Christ as I become a minister.  It’s a difficult decision for me and one that my closest friends don’t readily understand.  You may not either.

As I have grown in my walk and relationship with Christ, I have become more aware of my witness and how it affects other individuals.  That same level of awareness has increased my level of responsibility that I previously rejected.  Yet, by rejecting the responsibility, I now realize for me, I was rejecting growth in my relationship with Christ. You see, my desires and my will always came before His.  This choice may be very different from the one that God may be calling you to make as a Christian, which is fine. But I must ask you, what desires…life…have you given up recently in order to pursue God?

This passage tells us there is a difference between the lives of those who live for God and those who live for themselves.  In this day and age, it’s becoming harder and harder to tell the Christians apart from the non-Christians.  We speak the same, dress the same, and act the same as the very world we are instructed not to imitate.  We have lost our salt (Matthew 5:13-16).  So what does living for God look like?  It means no longer being in bondage to sin.  It means refraining from activities, situations, or people that can cause you to sin.  The closer I become to Him, the more uncomfortable I am with some of the past things I used to do, say, or even go.  I am no longer comfortable in that life.  My desires have and are changing.  That is a mark of spiritual maturity for us all. When you finally surrender your heart, your life, and your walk to God, you will come face to face with the desires of your old self and the desires of your new self.

We’ve heard the idea to die In Christ’s name many times before, we’ve heard about persecution in His name, but that’s not what He is asking us to do as our circumstances are different from those early Christians….Christ is asking us to live in His name. Christ does not need us to die for Him; He already died for us.  But He does desire us to live lives that are worthy of that sacrifice and are a testimony to other believers and non-believers.  My decision regarding TX/ou weekend is not because I fear doing anything not of Christ. I actually have no issue with dancing, socializing, or some of the other things that take place that weekend.  Instead, it’s about my wanting to follow His desires for my life.  Additionally, I recognize as I have become more open about my faith and walk in a public realm, that I should be aware how my actions may cause someone else to stumble in their faith.  The world thinks Christians are hypocrites for a reason. Our walk hasn’t measured up to our beliefs.  My desire is to not further contribute to that image.  So where is God speaking to you about your life?  Where are your desires conflicting with His will?

Wherever God is leading you in life, I encourage you to surrender your life to God.  When you give up something for God, He replaces it with something that much sweeter.