Are you living for or with Jesus? There’s a subtle but significant difference. We can follow everything the Bible teaches and still miss the point. This is, I fear, the state in which many “Christians” find themselves today. They are focused and determined to live for Jesus, and they engage in activities they believe are dictated in the Bible. But this misses the point of living with Jesus.
From the very beginning, God has shown He is relational. He created the Garden of Eden, indeed, the entire planet, so He could spend time with His creation. He wanted to walk with us, and for us to desire to be with Him. God’s character is unchanging, so we know He desires the same things today.
Living for Jesus is easier than living with Him. All Christ followers should desire to live with Jesus because it’s what we committed to Him when we asked Him to live in us. At some point after our initial commitment, we changed our minds. We decided we were okay living for Jesus, but with Him turned out to be a lot of commitment. It made us a little uneasy to give up our dreams, desires, and routines. We wanted Jesus as an addition to our lives, not consume all of it.
I’m generalizing and painting with a broad brush here. Most of us (I hope!) never consciously go through such a thought process. It happens more subtly. Our commitment erodes over time. Still, if we take an honest look at our lives, it’s difficult to deny we spend far more time living for Jesus than we do living with Him. It’s easy to do some work with a group from your church. I’m not implying participating in your local church is a bad thing, but I do think we can easily confuse activity with devotion.
To live with Jesus is to become a true disciple. It entails bringing Him wherever you go. It means allowing Him to be with you in everything you think, say, and do. This is where it gets uncomfortable. If you were living with Jesus, if He was right beside you, would you think the same thoughts you do now in your idle moments? Would you change the words you speak? If you were locked arms with Jesus, would the activities you chose to engage in change? You’ll have to answer for yourself, but I know I’ve got work to do in this area.
It’s not a comfortable question to contemplate, but are you living for or with Jesus? Do you invite Him everywhere you go? Do you welcome Him into your thoughts to observe what’s going on in there? If you aren’t already aware, Jesus is there whether you invite Him or not. He knows. He sees your heart and whether your deepest desire is to be with Him or simply have Him available when necessary or convenient. You get to choose between Christianity as you’ve always known it, living for Jesus, or true discipleship, a life lived with Jesus. God created you to be with Him. Will you accept His offer?