why i don’t live for jesus anymore

Posted: September 30, 2009 in Christianity
Tags: , ,

I recently spoke to my church family about why I don’t live for Jesus anymore. Don’t worry – I’m still a Christian and head over heels with Jesus! However, I have a real problem with the phrase “living for Jesus.” I’ve heard it everywhere in Christendom – songs, sermons, testimonies. I’ve been in services where the altar call was asking people to come down front and declare that they will do a better job of living for Jesus. It bothers me to the point that as worship leader at our church, I’ve changed the lyrics to songs to take that phrase out.  For the record, I understand the idea of living for Jesus as a means of expressing that he’s the reason you live – he’s the purpose and motivation behind your life. But most of the time I hear this phrase, its not in that context. Take for example these two song lyrics:  “Lord give us strength to live for you” and “I will follow you, live my life for you.” Those sentences make it sound like our job as Christians are to live for Jesus. While it may seem very admirable and even a desirable goal as a Christian to live for Him, I believe its the exact opposite of what Christians are called to do.

So whats the problem with living for Jesus?

1) Its unbiblical. I have searched the phrases “live for Jesus,” ” live for Him,” and “live for God” in multiple translations of the Bible and I can’t seem find it consistently anywhere. There are a few instances but usually its just one translation. For instance, in Galatians 2:19 the NIV and NLT versions says “live for God” but the same verse is translated “live to God” in almost every other translation. “Live to God” seems to denote living our lives with God as our purpose – and makes much more sense than “live for God,” especially when the context of the verse is talking about being out from under the Old Testament law. There are a few other examples like this but basically the idea of living for Jesus is not found in the bible.

2) Its impersonal. Think about it – when you do something for someone, they aren’t there, right? If your spouse asks you to run an errand for them, it because they aren’t there and can’t do it.  So if we’re living for God, where is He? If God wanted us to live for Him, He would’ve kept the OT law in place and never sent Jesus. But John 3:16 says that God so loved us that sent Jesus. Why? So we could have the restored relationship that Adam enjoyed with God. Check out this funny but accurate video showing the shallow relationship of a Christian who is living for God:

3) Its impossible. Galatians 2:21 says that righteousness cannot come through the law. You, by yourself can’t do anything to put yourself in right-standing with God. No matter how hard you try to live for Him, you’ll fail. You can’t “do” Christianity without Christ!

So if we don’t live for Jesus, how do we live?

1)   Live in Jesus – 2 Cor 5:17 says we become new creatures if we are  IN Christ – not living for him. If you look up with word “in” in greek, it means “hidden in, tucked away, in the interior,” and the AMP version says “ingrafted.” Its the same word used of Jesus being “in” his mother Mary before he was born.  Doesn’t that sound good – to be completely hidden in, provided for, protected and shielded by Jesus? In addition, living in Him is even the way you deal with sin –  Romans 8:1 – “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” There is no sin in Jesus. So as we hide ourselves in Him and learn to walk in the spirit, sin becomes a non-issue.

2)   Live through Jesus – Philippians 4:13. – “I can do all things THROUGH Christ.”  1 John 4:9 – “God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live THROUGH Him.” When you do something through something else, you’re using its power and ability, not your own.  What great news! See, we don’t have to live for Jesus, we live through Him and use His strength and wisdom.  We are acceptable to God when we live through him – 1 Peter 2:5. Whats more, you don’t work for Him, He works though you as you submit to Him – Hebrews 13:20,21

3)   Live with Jesus – Colossians 2:13 says that we are alive WITH Him – the word “with” being “a preposition denoting union” (Strongs). Union – isn’t that why God sent Jesus –  to restore our union with Him? Again, when you do something for someone, they aren’t there. However, when you live WITH Jesus, He is everywhere you go. You take Him to work with you, He eats with you and watches TV with you. 2 Cor 13:4 explains that if you want to have the power of God active in your life, its not earned – it comes by Him being WITH you.

I encourage you to stop living for Jesus. Just quit – its not what you were made to do. Instead live in, live through and live with Him. You’ll find your relationship with Him will run much deeper than it ever has before. Once we stop trying to do Christianity in our power we can learn to simply be Christians in, through and with His power.

  1. Katie says:

    Praise-allujah! That’s a great post. Thanks for sharing Jamie!

  2. Buddy Whatley says:

    He died for me; I live for him… simple? In Him, through Him, with Him, for Him… I don’t really get the difference? The real difference is for Him or not for Him!

    The NIV says, “…for God” and that’s not as easy for me to dismiss as it seems to be for you. I do lots of things “for God;” in June I’ll be on the Navajo reservation laying tile in a sanctuary, leading a VBS, and preaching a revival at night… “for Jesus” since “He won’t be there….” to lay tile, or lead the VBS, or preach the revival. He’ll be there and his Spirit will undergird and empower everything we do, but we’ll be his hands and feet and voice for the week. We are humbled by his faith in us… as we live and work for Him! In His name!

    But I still don’t know how many angels can dance on the head of a pin… 🙂

    (By the way, “Hi!”)

  3. Cynthia says:

    Jamie, I just read this aloud to Charlie after his long day of work, and he said “That’s some of the best preachin’ I’ve ever heard!” Well said!

    It was great to be with you and your fam. today. Have an awesome week!

    • Jamie says:

      Cindy, thanks so much for the encouragement! After talking with you Saturday (which I loved catching up!) I was really flattered when you mentioned my blog and was convicted that I haven’t been writing as much lately. So I’m going to start writing some more, doggone it!!! Thanks again for the encouragement.

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