If I could sum up the christian life I would sum it up with this sentence:
Dead to self-interest, alive unto God!
Without even realizing it, every single person born into this world lives to their own self-interest from the very first moment they come out of the womb.
It is natural to live for one thing when you are born into this world: your self.
Self-interest means that you do everything that you do for the purpose of pleasing your self, and what you want, and what you desire in some way. Just think about when you were a kid —- why did you do anything you did? Why did you beg and scream and cry for X? Why did you lie? Why did you seek to be “cool” and accepted? Why did you chase after that guy? Why did you want those friends? Why did you want that job? That Car?
Everything in life revolved around the motive of pleasing ourselves! And that is what it means to live for yourself, or your self-interest.
Every friendship, every goal, every desire, every ambition all focused upon the self and gratifying it.
This is NATURAL. No one needs to think about pleasing themselves. They will automatically do it. Even the most religious pharisee who looked outwardly righteous had one motive and purpose for all that he did: to advance his own SELF-INTERESTS!
Even the most good thing we may have done had lying behind it the secret motive for self-interest. To look a certain way, to get a certain thing our heart wanted, to be noticed, to have attention.
This becomes apparent in other people when we become alive to it in ourselves. All of a sudden, we can see that people are trying to manipulate us, and sway us in a certain direction because they have their own interests that they are trying to satisfy.
We Are Freed In Christ
When we have been given light by the Spirit of God to see that in Christ, we have been brought to the grave in His death, and have been raised to new life in His Resurrection we come to see by the Light of the Spirit what Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:15:
Paul wrote that now those that are ALIVE are to no longer live for pleasing themselves, but live for GOD!
In Christ, we must see that we have been FREED from living our life here on earth for ourselves. For our own reasons, goals, benefits, pleasures, and ambitions to be satisfied. We are free from the master of self-interest in the Cross of Jesus Christ!
Isn’t that glorious news? Don’t we see that we are a slave to whatever we obey? If everything we do is based off of pleasing or satisfying ourselves, then we are a slave to our self-interest. Jesus died that we might be freed from this master! (This is one among zillions of masters, but it generally encompasses them all!)
Behind everything a person seems to be living for is SELF-INTEREST.
And God has far better plans for us than to live a life that is for the purpose of pleasing ourselves!
You might think, ‘well, what is better than getting everything you want?’
Is getting everything you want now in this life really worth losing the God of All and eternity with Him, and serving Him? If so, He will not chase you as He did not chase the rich young ruler. You are free to go and live your life how you choose; but guaranteed, if you are called by Him, and chosen in Christ for a heavenly life and purpose, you not only will never find pleasure in this life, but you will have a heart circumcised by faith and you will die to yourself and live unto GOD ALONE! Let that be a test of our relationship to the Lord!
Who are you living for? Yourself? Or God?
Only By His Grace
If you are having your eyes opened and feeling frightened perhaps because you are realizing right now that you are literally living for yourself in every way, and you fear the Lord and desire a change of heart — then praise GOD!
And the way to that changed heart is simply by crying out to the Lord for His grace!
If He requires a heart that is alive only unto Him, and dead to self-interest, then He Himself has provided the grace in Jesus Christ to do that in our hearts if we believe in Him to do it!
The very fact that any person feels the sense within them that they ought to be living for God and not for themselves proves the work of the Spirit of God in their hearts already. And it is the Lord who is drawing us out when that is so, to seek Him for a heart that is wholly devoted to Himself, that we might now live unto Him and not for pleasing ourselves!
So that it is only by His grace, by us humbling ourselves and seeking Him for a heart wholly devoted to Himself, FOR HIS PURPOSES AND GLORY, that we will see this heart change come about over time!
And over time, the Spirit works in our hearts in showing us when we are still making decisions, or doing anything in order to satisfy some self-interest. He will point it out when we are seeking the Lord and sensitive to His Spirit, and He will lead us to renounce all that He shows us, that we might have a heart cleansed and emptied of our self! And if we are ignorant to the Spirit’s leading in this way, He will have to intervene on a higher level and not allow us to attain the things we are seeking to satisfy ourselves in this life.
So that is also a test —- if you are experiencing never getting anything you want, or if you are trying to live for your own benefit and pleasure and to satisfy your own desires in everything, and that is not happening — let that speak for itself in that the Lord has other plans for you, namely, to die to living for yourself that you might live unto God!
Living For God
What God intends for those who are now alive unto Him is that by and through us as His servants and vessels we might bring the Presence of the Lord to this world. He desires that wherever we are in His will, we are to be a light and a means by which those all around us are blessed. Because of our spirit-union with Him, we are to become a blessing to those around us, and to the Church of God.
He gave grace to each member of the Body in order that we might fulfill our function in order to build up the Body in love, unto the full stature of Christ! And the grace He gave each of us is in order that we might minister Christ to the Body and to those around us, to bring light and life to those who are in need. To be used as vessels to open the eyes of the blind, and raise people from weakness and death into newness of life in Christ as we share what He has done in our own life.
We don’t have to seek out and plan what God wants us to do. If He is truly working in our hearts and lives, it will happen spontaneously. He will lead other members of His Body to us, and use us to speak life and light into their hearts. He will lead some other person perhaps in our job or school to us that needs to hear the truth about Christ. He will work and lead us into the work He is already doing when we are living for Him, and seeking His direction in all things in life.
God’s purposes are 100% about the Lord Jesus Christ and His interests. There is no other interest. Not our marriages, not our money, not our life here on earth —- unless it is in connection to the advancing of the interests of God. Everything in our life must be connected or related to the Lord’s interests or it holds no meaning or value. It is dead in God’s eyes if it not solely for the Lord’s interests.
Let this be a test and a reminder today that if we have been bought with the Blood of Jesus Christ, then we are NOW freed from every other master there is, that we might serve the living God alone!