At the age of 22, I heard, understood, and accepted the gospel of Jesus Christ for the first time. Up to that point, my life had been lived for my own pride, pleasures, and worldly passions. As a brand-new follower of Jesus, I had to navigate this newfound faith and learn how I could live a life for God rather than myself.
My first few years of following Jesus were incredible. God’s Word penetrated the depths of my soul and spirit (Hebrews 4:12) as God led me out of addictions and lusts into a life of service and mission. My consistent prayer was this: “God, use my life for your kingdom.”
My wife and I pursued global missions in hopes of sharing the love of Jesus with people all over the world. We focused on reading scripture, preparing lessons, and volunteering. We were seeing God move in amazing ways; from the slums of India to the refugee camps of the Middle East. God was fulfilling my prayer.
A life for God is a great life…but is it the best life?
We poured into people, tithed to the church, and sought ministry triumphs for the Lord as we sacrificed our time, talents, and treasures. We even quit our jobs and sold our house and most of our possessions to pursue ministry opportunities abroad and to receive further biblical training. It truly was a great life for God…but was it our best life?
In the book of Hosea, the nation of Israel had drifted from their relationship with God. They continued to perform the rituals, the Jewish festivals, the sacrifices, and all the outward expressions of their faith, but their hearts were distant from their Creator. God described their love like the morning mist, like the early dew that disappears (Hosea 6:4), and went on to make this declaration:
“For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings” (Hosea 6:6)
God is not pleased with our sacrifices, our tithes, our works, or our offerings if they are not done in communion with Him.
Living Life with God
Even if you are not focused on rituals like the nation of Israel was at the time of Hosea or feel called to sell your home like I did, there is often a temptation for us to focus on our deeds over our relationship with God.
The life lived for God is a life of achievement, goals, sacrifices, and accomplishments. In our desire to do great things for the kingdom of God, we become overly focused on our works for God instead of focusing on God Himself.
The best life is the life lived with God. A life with God means communion, fellowship, and intimacy with the very Creator of the universe. Life with God recognizes that there is nothing we can do to increase or diminish God’s love for us. We recognize that God’s greatest desire is to be in relationship with His people.
Living life with God does not negate the call to obedience and good deeds. Instead of serving our own ambitions, our works should be an outpouring and overflow of the love and communion one has with the Lord. Our deepest desire is intimacy with Christ, and from that relationship we achieve an even greater burden to pursue the things of God.
How to Live Life With God
1. Spend Time in Prayer
2. Practice everyday dependance on God.
Jesus showed incredible humility in His dependence on God the Father for everything, not just the momentous moments of His life. He went as far to say, “the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing…” (John 5:19).
3. Read God’s Word Regularly
Jesus clearly spent ample time in God’s word, as when He was tempted in the wilderness by Satan He responded three times by quoting Scripture (Matthew 4:1-11).
God desires a relationship with you more than He values your works. Pray that the Lord helps shift your passion from accomplishing and achieving to fellowshipping and communing.
Bible Verses for Further Reflection
The abundant life is not something that Jesus offers us once we step into eternity, the abundant life is something Jesus offers us today.
- The Psalms teach that in God’s “presence there is fullness of joy” (Psalm 16:11).
- Isaiah said that God “keeps him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you” (Isaiah 26:3). Jesus said “Remain in me, as I also remain in you” (John 15:4) and that He came “that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).
- Jesus is Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14), God with us, and God the Holy Spirit dwells inside the believer right now (John 14:17).
To experience the fullness of that abundant life, practice living life with God.
Credit | Tyler Peterson
🎨 Credit | Eric Price
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