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Experiencing Jesus and Living For Him Are Not the Same

My wife is a great travelling companion. Though she considers herself a homebody (we both are, kind of staying to ourselves for the most part), she loves to explore new places, and visit areas of our state and country she has never been before. She loves taking pictures and making memories with our kids, and she loves to play the part of tourist, even if the place is considered to be in our backyard. Many people are like this: we love the new experiences. Some, I think, may take it a bit far, constantly seeking newer, bigger and better things to do and places to go. I think we do this because, whether or not we realize it, we all know that our time on this earth is short, and so many of us try to cram as much of it in as possible before we exit. Yet it is those moments in between the experiences that define us, not the experiences themselves; we still have to live life in between the exciting moments. I, for one, am glad my wife doesn't just want to be with me when we go some place, and have nothing to do with me when we get home!

I have seen many professing believers in Christ do much the same: I've heard from many people "I just don't get anything out of church," or "That message did not speak to me." We look for music that moves us, and a message that inspires us, but when we leave the sanctuary, how do we live our lives? The word of God is not always inspiring (though it is inspired!), sometimes it is disciplining, sometimes it's showing us God's fulfillment of promises or His righteous judgement, and each time it's calling us to be humble before our God, to wait on His will, and to live a life that brings Him glory. It's not always flashy or exciting, like the experiences we all want to have, and much of the time, it's a breath by breath struggle to stay focused on Jesus. Experiencing Jesus is great, but LIVING for Him is something entirely different. And we are not called to experience Jesus, or look for that experience, we're called to LIVE for Him, a life that is a living sacrifice, which is our Spiritual Worship (Romans 12:1). It's not about our taste, our comfort, our hopes or our dreams; living for Christ is about bringing Him Glory in everything we do. Anything less brings us close to self worship in the name of seeking Jesus, which is idol worship!

Matthew 16:24-27 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done."

1 John 2:1-29

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for his name's sake. I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, children, because you know the Father. I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life.

I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.

And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.

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