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Living for ourselves
- Jacob Ninan
Most people in the world live apart from God, even if they pay lip service to God now and then. When we are born again, God enters our life in a personal way, or rather, we enter into a life with God. But even then, we all are at different levels in our life with God. All of us would like to think that we want to produce hundred fold fruit in our life. But most of the time this wish does not match with our actual lives. In down to earth terms we may still be living a self-centred life even though we proclaim our desire for a deep life with God.
Of course we want God to be for us and with us. We know that we cannot get far in this world (or the world to come) without Him. We want His favour, blessings, protection, help, etc., in everything we do. Is there anything wrong with this?
Imagine two Christians. One asks God for His blessings and help in everything that he does. The other one makes himself and everything he does subject to what God wants him to do. For the first one, he himself is the boss and God his Helper. For the second one, God is the Boss, and he himself a servant. Which way do we live?
Jesus said that His food was to do the will of His Father and to accomplish His work (Jn.4:34). He was explaining Himself concerning what He said, "I have food to eat that you do not know of" (v.32). For Jesus the goal was clear as well as the way of life. His Father was the Boss, and Jesus found His spiritual strength and growth in doing what the Father wanted.
The first type of Christian lives his life just like all the other people of the world, making his own plans, deciding on the course of his life, doing what he thinks he should do. The difference between him and unbelievers is that he considers whether God would approve what he does, and asks God's blessings on whatever he does. On the other hand, the second type of Christian first finds out what the Father wants him to do - which subjects he should study, what job he should take, who he should marry, where he should stay, how many children he should have, how he should spend his time and money, how he can be of use to God and people, etc. He believes that God has a detailed plan for his life and that the best life he can have is when he is fulfilling that plan (Ps.139:16). He constantly interacts with God to know His will, to see whether he has strayed away from His plan, to understand the changes he needs to make in his life, and to seek for more power and wisdom to do His will.
We have a tendency to become like the first man, and we need constant vigilance to live like the second man. Attending church, reading the Bible and praying, and giving money will not turn the first type of Christian into the second type. The focus of our life has to shift from us to God.
Many times we have to deny ourselves in order to do God's will (Lk.9:23). People may not always understand us. We may not become big in this world. But don't we want to fulfil God's plans and to glorify Him?