"Live for Jesus." That's such a simple thing to say, and it seems to be every Christian's motto. Have you ever felt like everyone else seems to know the secret to "living for Jesus"—everyone except you? Have you ever had someone walk up to you and say, "Follow Jesus' plan and don't be afraid! You just have to do it!" (If you haven't heard this, I can almost guarantee you will someday.) Sure, it sounds great, but people rarely give a good answer on what it means! So, what does it actually mean to dedicate your life to Jesus, to "live for Him," and where do you begin?
First off, I'm going to get rid of some common misconceptions...
Now, don't get me wrong, all these things are okay in and of themselves (except for my fourth point!). It's just not what it means to live for Jesus.
Living for Jesus is about who you are, not just what you do. It means to completely surrender your wants and needs and replace them with God's. Instead of thinking, "How can I be the best football player?" you'd think, "How can I use being on the football team for God?"
All of this sounds well and good, right? But how do you completely change the way you think? The answer is (drum roll please!) by taking nice, small baby steps toward the goal. We are newborns in Christ after all. I'm not saying that if you follow these steps, then for sure you'll be "living for Jesus." But it's a good place to start as you're figuring out what this looks like in your life.
Baby Step #1: The best way to start dedicating your life to God is to read God's Word. But don't just read it like you're reading your Social Studies book.
Baby Step #2: Specifically set aside time to focus on God. Spend the first half of your time reading the Bible. Then spend the next half asking yourself and God how to apply what you read to your life (Psalm 119:15).
Baby Step #3: Continue to think about what you've learned while you do something you enjoy. Maybe go for a bike ride or walk the dog or paint a picture or help your mom cook dinner. Later, write down any additional insights you might have had during that time or pretty much anything that comes to mind. The only rule is you have to be able to concentrate on the Bible!
Baby Step #4: Pay attention to your surroundings and look for openings to serve others. God doesn't (usually) give us flashing signs that tell us what to do; sometimes He gives us small opportunities instead (Galatians 6:9). Jesus probably didn't wake up one morning and think, "I need to allow a blind man to see," but when the opportunity came around, that's exactly what He did!
There are people all around you who need God. If you want to live for Jesus, then help Him with His mission. Jesus saves people, but our job is to show others the path to Salvation (Galatians 6:9). What's one thing Jesus was constantly doing throughout His life? He was helping people. Every day, He helped someone whether they deserved it or not.
Likewise, you need to constantly be looking for a person to help in the name of Jesus. It doesn't have to be earth-shattering like giving all your belongings to a homeless person. It can be as simple as holding open a door for someone whose hands are full or complimenting a person on their hair or smiling at someone who looks sad. That small act could spark the light of God's love through you and into a darkened heart.
Baby Step #5: This is the first big step in your Christian walk. Do all things through Christ who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13). That means that you are keeping God in the forefront of your mind as you go about your daily life. You stay focused on what He wants you to do, and you jump on opportunities to serve others.
What it comes down to is this: a heart that desires to love God and love people. That is what "living for Christ" is all about. If you stumble, it's all right. We all do! We all mess up from time to time, and it's only human. Get back up and keep going, because living for Jesus will be the best thing that has, and will ever, happen to your heart.
I'm going to end this with something you may have heard before, but I'll say it with one difference. Follow Jesus' plan, and don't be afraid. You're right. It's not easy, but it's definitely worth it.
"I can do all things through Him who strengthens me." —Philippians 4:13
Anna's passions in life are God and writing. She loves reading, hanging out with family and friends, and playing with her adorable dogs. Anna is always excited to travel to new places and will never miss an opportunity to be random. She gets super excited for anything pink and fluffy, and sparkles are always an added bonus!