And [Christ] died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
- 2 Corinthians 5:15
Who do you live for?
In today’s passage, Paul urges his readers (and us) to live for the one who died and was raised again, to live for Christ. Living for ourselves makes no sense. Why would we live solely for our own comfort, our own convenience, or our own kingdoms when we’ve connected with Jesus? His love for us and our love for him overshadows our own concerns.
It’s no uncommon thing to live a life motivated by love. We love our families, our community, our comrades-in-arms. Many of us make significant sacrifices for the people we love. We want them to thrive. We want them to be happy. We want what’s best for them.
And this is where the call to love and follow Christ can feel like a threat. We’re giving all the love we have to give to all the people in our lives who matter most to us. What happens to the people we love when we commit ourselves to life for Christ?
Love is not a finite resource, but our priorities do shape the way we express our love. Just as being a parent or a friend or a colleague pushes us to rearrange our lives to make space for others, being a follower of Jesus adjusts the way we live. We carve out time to be with him and to serve him. We say “No” to some things in order to say “Yes” to Jesus.
And here’s the beautiful mystery: when we place Jesus at the center of our lives and live our lives for him, we become more available to the other people we love. When we give all of ourselves to Christ we discover depths in us that we never imagined.
Take shame for example. Certain forms of shame can be crippling, forcing us to hide our real selves from the people we love. When we live our lives for Jesus, his radical acceptance of us frees us from these crippling forms of shame and causes us to stand tall: vulnerable yet confident. We then have more of ourselves to offer to our friends, our co-workers, and our family.
What does living for Jesus look like for you? How does your relationship with Jesus liberate and empower you to experience more love, compassion, and intimacy with the people God’s placed in your life?