If you are a follower of Jesus, then your life is not your own. It belongs entirely to Him. As Paul wrote to the Corinthians, "You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body" (1 Cor. 6:19-20).
This is the opposite of the contemporary American gospel, which teaches that Jesus died to make you into a bigger and better you, to help you fulfill your dreams and goals.
To the contrary, Jesus died for you and me so we too would die—die to sin and self—and live a new life for Him.
That's when we find out what life is really about. That's when we come into our true destiny and purpose.
Despite what many preachers say, Jesus did not come into this world and suffer and die to give us the keys to a happy and prosperous life, although there is endless joy in His presence and everything we need is found in Him.
Instead, the Word says that Jesus "died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised" (2 Cor. 5:15).
This is Gospel 101, where discipleship begins. We no longer live for ourselves but for Him who died for us and rose again.
To the outsider, this looks like bondage and dead religion. To the insider—to the child of God who knows the Lord—this is freedom and life. We get to live our lives for God! This is absolutely glorious.
In keeping with this, Paul wrote to the Colossians, "If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God" (Col 3:1-3).
How much clearer could it be? The old life we lived, we live no more; instead, our lives are hidden with Christ in God. That's where our ultimate focus must be.
All this was symbolized in our water baptism, when "We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life" (Rom. 6:4).
Are you seeing a pattern here? Is the testimony of the Word consistent?
It is not only true that Jesus paid the price for our sins; He also paid the price for us—for our lives, for everything we are or ever could be—and now our glorious calling and destiny is to live lives worthy of the Lord, lives that will bear fruit forever and ever.
Peter echoed these very same sentiments: "Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties and lawless idolatry" (1 Pet. 4:1-3).
Does that express your heart as well? Can you joyfully pray, "Lord, Your will, not mine, be done in my life?"
The amazing thing is that when we deny ourselves and take up the cross, our will becomes one with His, and when we lose our lives for His sake and the gospel, we really find our lives (see Matt. 16:24-25).
That's why I can assure you that no one who truly commits his or her life to Jesus will look back at the end of life with regret. I can also assure you that those who live for their will rather than God's will in the end will have endless regret.
You have been bought with a price.
You are the Messiah's treasured, purchased possession.
To hold back is to disobey. To yield unconditionally is to enter into the very life of God.
Will you look back 100 years from now and ask yourself why you wasted your one and only life, or will you be one of those, who, on that Day, will "shine like the brightness of the sky above ... like the stars forever and ever" (Dan. 12:3)?
Dr. Michael Brown is the author of Can You Be Gay and Christian? Responding With Love and Truth to Questions About Homosexuality and host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show The Line of Fire on the Salem Radio Network. He is also president of FIRE School of Ministry and director of the Coalition of Conscience. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or at @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.
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