During a recent church meeting I felt God impress upon me that He has made it so easy for us to live for Him.
For a long time I’ve known that living for Him is simple, and have corrected myself when I’ve used the word “easy”, because I’ve also been aware of the cost of laying down my will to live purely for God. Like most Christians I am familiar with Jesus’s words to His disciples that if any man wished to follow Him, he would need to “take up his cross daily” (Luke 9:23 NIV).
So there was a bit of a hurdle to get over when God told me that living for Him was easy. For while I knew in my heart it was true because He was saying it; to fully embrace what He was saying I had to let go of what, up until that point, I had believed.
To fully embrace what He was saying I had to let go of what, up until that point, I had believed.
In making choices to live for God I have often been aware of the cost involved – that is, the cost to self, to me. When I focus on that cost it can feel that living in love with God is difficult, when it is not. While that cost is real – and something that God never hides – the point is that it is not what God is focussing on, so neither should I. He is focused on what that cost actually purchases, which is something of worth beyond measure, oneness with Him, our Creator.
Jesus describes this in Matthew 13:44, “the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field”
The problem is that because of the way living for God is often portrayed and referred to, we’ve become accustomed to believing it’s not natural to want to give away our old life, and live a new life in Him and for Him. The devil tries to convince us that it’s not reasonable; we should look after ourselves, be smart and hold on tight to what we’ve got. So we work hard at self-preservation, and try to live for God while also looking for security in things of this world, blind to the fact that, as Helen Keller wrote, “security is mostly a superstition”. The only security is God. He and He alone is constantly true, constantly faithful, constantly loving.
Jesus’s invitation was, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NIV).
Just as Matthew wrote two thousand years ago, Jesus today invites each of us to walk with Him, and when we do so, not only is our walk easy, but we don’t need to struggle with the burdens of life, because He shares them with us. He longs to be our sole provider and only security. But it does not somehow magically happen, it is up to each of us to live in love with Him to the exclusion of everything else.
Within each of us is a God-shaped hole, a vacuum which only He can fill.
Letting go of my own perspective to embrace God’s truth, I realised just how much He has done to enable me to live for Him. Firstly we were created by God to live in relationship with Him – it is what man is designed for. Within each of us is a God-shaped hole, a vacuum which only He can fill.
He created this world and gave it to the first man Adam, who with Eve had the opportunity to live in paradise with God, in a perfect love relationship. And for a time that is exactly what they did, dwelling in the Garden of Eden together, surrounded by all God had created. They tended to it and enjoyed walking with God in the cool of each day. Living for God was easy – it was their total existence and all they had ever known.
But then Adam did the one thing that God forbade, he ate from the “Tree of the knowledge of good and evil”, and in so doing broke the terms of God’s beautiful creation, destroying that perfect love relationship. How devastating that must have been for God.
Yet ever since, God has done everything He can to restore this most precious relationship. Because of His incredible love for mankind, God sent His only son Jesus as the most costly and perfect sacrifice to once more make it possible for Him to have the relationship with man which has been His desire from the beginning of time.
At the Last Supper, Jesus prayed to His Father for all believers, for you and me, “… that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (John 17:22-23 NIV).
Jesus had no instruction manual, no advantage and no agenda, He simply loved His Father, and lived out His life in response to that love.
Jesus was, and is, the way for us to fulfil God and live in love relationship with our Heavenly Father, just like Jesus does. As a man, He showed us that living in love with God is easy, when that is all you want and desire. Jesus had no instruction manual, no advantage and no agenda, He simply loved His Father, and lived out His life in response to that love. In doing so, He made a way for us to be able to do the same.
When God sent His Spirit on The Day of Pentecost, He gave man the opportunity to be indwelt by the Spirit of God, to walk with Him as Adam once did. To this day that incredible gift and privilege is freely available to each one of us.
All that is needed is a lover’s faith response, to each and every word He speaks to us.
For those of us who have received the Holy Spirit into our hearts, we know that He speaks to us in a voice we can hear, and a language we can understand. That is rarely an audible voice, but if we are tuned-in we know when God has stirred something in our heart. We can explain it away, or rationalise it, but in the secret place of our hearts, we know He has spoken.
All that is needed is a lover’s faith response, to each and every word He speaks to us. Then we are truly walking with God, and living in intimacy with Him; fulfilling His deepest yearning for each of us to live in love relationship with Him. A lover’s response is something that every single person can give, it is the act of giving yourself to another, without counting the cost.
When you freely and willingly choose to abandon yourself to God, because He, the object of your love, is all you care about, then living for Him really IS easy. That is how God’s people are called to live.