Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Friday, January 27th. What are you living for? Unless you have a clear answer, you'll easily lose focus and drift. Today's podcast helps you find the only satisfying goal to pursue. If someone should pose this question to you, how would you answer it? And the question is simply this, what are you living for? All of us are living for something, but what are you living for?
Now, it may be that you haven't simply applied that question to your own life. You've probably thought about it maybe somebody else's life, but what are you living for? That is, what is your real goal and objective in life? Where are you headed?
How far along are you? How are you going to get where you're going? What is it that motivates you? What are you trying to accomplish? What are you trying to achieve?
What is it out there that has caused you to move in that direction? Do you have a sense of purpose in your life? Now, the fact that God says that all of us are going to give an account of our life one of these days, it's important that you and I understand what He says our purpose in life should be and what is it that should motivate and drive us. So I want you to turn, if you will, to 2 Corinthians chapter 5 because in this chapter and in these couple of verses, Paul makes it very clear what we should be living for, what should be the motivation of our life, and he also refers to the kind of lifestyle we used to live and he says to us, no longer allow yourself to live that kind of life. So if you'll notice beginning in verse 14, we'll read verse 14 and 15, Paul says, For the love of Christ constrains or controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died.
And he died for all, that they who live should no longer live for themselves, but for him, that is for Christ, who died and rose again on their behalf. Now, the two aspects of our life that I want us to look at here and the first one is the motive of our life. What's the motive of your life? That is, what is it that motivates you to do what you do? All of us have some motive, sometimes we're aware of the motive, sometimes we're not, but there is always an underlying motive beneath what we do. Paul is simply saying in this passage that the motive of our life should be love.
And then he describes that. Listen, the love of Christ controls, constrains, motivates me, drives me. Now that could be one of two types of love. It could be our love for Christ or his love for us. Now, I believe primarily what Paul is referring to here is the love of the Lord Jesus Christ for him.
In 1 John chapter 4 verse 19, he says, we love because he first loved us. It is the fact that you and I are aware of Christ's love for us, that's what should motivate us. But what's motivating you? What drives you? What is your sense of purpose?
What are you after in life? He says, we should be motivated, the purpose of our life should be very definite, and that the motivation of heading toward that purpose should be our awareness of Christ's love for us. Now he goes a little further because here he talks about what this love is all about. Notice he says, three times in these two verses, look, verse 14, the latter part, one died for all. Verse 15, he died for all, the latter part, but for him who died and rose again on their behalf. So what he's referring to here and emphasizing is that Christ died for us. Now, the fact that Jesus Christ died for all does not mean that all are going to be saved. It means that all men have the privilege.
Now here's the key. The fact that it was a substitutionary death, that is that he died in your place and my place, and that nobody can be saved apart from the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, otherwise he wouldn't have died for all. He died for anybody, everybody, every single person. The sins of all mankind have been placed upon the Lord Jesus Christ so that any person and all persons who want to be saved can all be saved the same way, not by works, not by behavior, not by performance, not by promise, but by the grace of God, which is his undeserved favor and love expressed toward undeserving sinners so that his salvation is offered to all people. So Paul says, you want to know what motivates me? You want to know what should govern why you're living and what you're living for? What should govern that is your awareness of the awesome love that Jesus Christ has for you and demonstrated primarily in the giving of himself at the cross at Calvary. Now he says on the basis of that, this is the manner of life which you and I should live. Based on the fact that he gave himself for us, he has something to do and something to say about the kind of lifestyle we live. Now it's interesting in this passage, Paul says there are only two lifestyles.
Verse 15, this death was in order that we should no longer live for ourselves. There are two lifestyles. One of them is the self-centered life and the other one is the Christ-centered life. The self-centered life and the Christ-centered life. Now what in the world is a self-centered life? A self-centered life, my friend, is one in which the person is dedicated to pleasing themselves. The self-centered life is one in which the person is dedicated to pleasing themselves.
Now they may pursue that in all different kinds of ways. They may pursue that by helping other people, but the underlying motivation is that helping someone else gets their acceptance, their appreciation, their thanksgiving, and makes the person feel good. It's still a self-centered life. Now the unbeliever, for example, that's his normal, natural lifestyle.
That's all he knows. That is, what in the world does a lost person live for but to squeeze all the pleasure they can out of every moment, to live their life hoping they can accomplish and achieve and enjoy and get all the things in life that they want because they think that'll make them happy, and so their life is centered on self. You say, well, now I know some very benevolent people who are not saved. Well, more than likely you do, but you know, what is it that motivates the unbeliever? If you get down beneath all of what appears to be good, genuine benevolence, deep down inside beneath all that, there is the desire, the hope, the wish, maybe that God is going to see their good deeds, and in spite of the fact that they don't believe in Christ, in spite of the fact that they do not go to church, they're not interested in spiritual things, they're hoping and betting that somehow and betting indeed that their good deeds are going to help them at least get into heaven.
Now what about the professing Christian? I want you to listen very carefully because one of Satan's most successful and subtle ways to render the body of Christ, the Christian, as ineffective and spiritually impotent, is to move into their life in such a fashion that they begin to experience this settled, self-centered kind of living. Let me describe for you, if I can, a self-centered life. A self-centered life, I am at the center of my world.
And so what happens? The self-centered person, all the world revolves around him or her. Everything that happens in life will be judged on the basis of how it affects the self-centered person.
All of life centers around them. And so everything must come through the eye grid, that is, how is it going to affect me? Is this thing going to help me? Is it going to prosper me?
How is it going to make me feel? Am I going to be better for it? Will it help me to achieve what I want to achieve? Will it help me to accomplish what I want to accomplish? Will people think better of me? How will it affect my future? And how will it affect my family?
And how will it affect my goals and my dreams and my plans? You see, the self-centered person is very introspective in the fact that they're always, everything has to come through how it's going to affect them. That person not only is introspective, but they're oftentimes usually building up some type of defenses because you see, they want nothing to bother their life that's going to tamper with their convenience, their comfort, their pleasures in life.
So what they want to do is to sap all the pleasure and all that they can get out of life because after all, what are they living for but themselves? You see, that person lives in a little kingdom all to themselves. Now they may be very, very gregarious, outwardly watching people, but the truth is they live in this little kingdom that they've built. And this kingdom, they do not want anybody tampering with it. And so therefore, anything that they hear or any actions that threaten the security of their own little private world is a real problem to them.
And so they become very, very defensive. Don't mess with their world. I'm busy. Don't call on me.
Don't expect me. I have my own plans. And so their life is all wrapped up in me, myself and I. Now, how does that contrast to the Christlike life? He says, because of the death of the Lord Jesus Christ, we should be motivated by his love for us and our love for him in such a fashion that we should no longer live a self-centered life. But now we start living a Christ-centered life.
That's the life he saved us to live. It is a life that revolves itself around the person and the plans of Christ, not what pleases me, not what pleasures me, what pleases the Lord. It is a life that revolves around what does it take to obey the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a life of obedience, not fretful obedience, but glad obedience.
Why? Because I'm motivated by the awareness that what Jesus Christ has done in your life and mine. He laid down his life willingly, voluntarily. He took all of your sin, past, present and future.
You've been saved. Your name is written in the Lamb's Book of Life. You go into heaven because he died for you.
He says, that should be what motivates us. The Christ, listen, the Christlike life is a life of obedience. It is a life committed to the Lord Jesus Christ, not based on my convenience, not based on my comfort, but rather based on the fact of who he is and he deserves, not only my best, but everything that I have to give. That's what the Christlike life is all about. It is a life that also has to answer the same questions that the self-centered life has.
But here's the difference. The self-centered life says, how's this going to affect me? Is this going to profit me? Is this going to hurt me? How's this going to affect my future?
Is this going to make me feel good, bad or indifferent? The Christ centered life says, how's this going to affect my relationship to Jesus? How's this going to affect my witness for him? How is this going to affect the work of the Lord? If I do this, will it glorify God? Will this please the Lord Jesus? Will this edify others? Will this strengthen the work of the kingdom?
You see, one is eye centered and the other one is Christ centered. And all I ask you to do today is to examine your heart honestly. What is it that really motivates what you're doing, where you're going, what you're trying to achieve? How much time do you really give to Jesus? Are you really serving him or yourself? Is what you want in life mostly for you and yours or you want your life to count, your life to count for him? Are you more concerned about the temporal or the eternal consequences? What are you really living for? And you see, here's the tragedy of this subtle form of very sinful kind of living. It is an expression of one of two things. It is an expression of my ignorance of all that Christ did for me in dying for me and redeeming me out of a hell and living his life in me and equipping me and equipping you and enabling us to become and reach our potential.
You see, we are either ignorant of all that he has and is doing for us or we are guilty of gross ingratitude. If you want to change, I want to give you four suggestions. They're real simple, but they work. So you may want to jot them down. All suggestions will help you change the center of your focus. Number one, if you have seen any of those indications of self-centeredness in your life, the first step is to acknowledge the presence of self-centeredness.
God, I am self-centered in this area, that area, these areas of my life. First of all, I've got to acknowledge it. Secondly, once I've acknowledged it, I must confess it and repent of it.
That means I acknowledge that it's wrong in my life, that it doesn't fit. I ask God to forgive me, thank him for my forgiveness, and I turn from that in those areas that God has shown me are areas full of self-centeredness. So step number one is to acknowledge it. Step number two is repentance. Step number three, remember that list of questions, and there are many of them, that the self-centered person asks before they make a decision?
Here's a simple question that you and I can ask. Step number three, ask yourself this question when you're in the process of making a decision. Lord, what will you have me to do? What you do in that is you acknowledge his sovereign leadership in your life.
You acknowledge that he has the right to manage your life. And then there's a fourth thing, it's very simple. Now these are so simple, you're going to say, ah, but my friend, if you want to keep living a self-centered life, you just pass them by. And number four, you remember what Paul said in the very beginning, that he's motivated by love, love demonstrated by the cross? One of the best ways to begin to overcome self-centered living is the way Paul overcame it, and that is getting into the Word, reading, and meditating on the death of Jesus Christ and what that means for your life personally. If you don't know how to start, start with the first eight chapters of Romans.
If you don't have any other place to start, start right there, the book of Romans chapters one through eight. Contemplating, meditating upon what did God do when he saved me? Paul says that's what drives me.
That's what motivates me. Paul says, you want to know what I'm living for? I'm living for Christ.
Now what did he mean by that? What did he mean when he said it is no longer I who lives, but Christ now lives in me? What did he mean when he said for me to live is for Christ to live? Here's what Paul meant, that his life was so surrendered to Christ that for Paul to walk through the streets was for Christ to walk through the streets. For Paul to speak was for Christ to speak. For Paul to act was for Christ to act. And what is true of Paul can be true of each one of us.
You say, well, he was an apostle. That's not the issue. The issue is the principle. Here is the principle. The principle is there are only two ways to live, either a self-centered life where I, the big I is at the center, or the Christ-centered life where Christ is at the center. And if we are living for Christ, listen, it means our decision-making process is geared to pleasing him. It means our actions and our attitudes, listen, are going to take on the actions and the attitudes of Christ because our focus is upon him. Lord, what would you have me to do?
And my friend, we have to work at this. You can't say, well, I'm just going to live a Christ-centered life from now on. No, there needs to be an acknowledgment of it. Lord, not only do I acknowledge you today, but I want the Spirit of God to convict me at the first sign of any encroaching self-centeredness in my life. Repent of it, and then send all the questions through the grid. Lord, what would you have me to do?
Do you know what that does? That just builds the most wonderful, warm, indescribable intimacy between you and him. And what happens is, as Paul said, listen to what Paul said, I have been crucified with Christ. He says, I'm identified in this death. Whereas he died physically, he said, when he died, I died to this world. He says, as he was buried, I was buried to the world. As he arose, I arose to walk a newness, a new kind of life. What life is that? In essence, it's this, that you and I are living a life whereby we acknowledge not only his rightful position and place, but we acknowledge him in the decisions we make, the attitudes we accept, the actions we perform.
Lord, what would you have me to do? And Paul says, when you understand what Jesus Christ did for you at the cross, you too will make a choice to commit yourself to living a Christ-centered life. That's the life that becomes magnetic and fulfilling and contenting and useful and powerful and effective for the Lord. Two choices, my friend, self-centered, very deceitful, very disappointing, very disillusioning, Christ-centered, contenting, fulfilling, joyful, useful, powerful, effective. The choice is yours. Which will it be?
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-27 04:05:45 / 2023-01-27 04:13:05 / 7