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TITLE: Living For Jesus
By Lauren Beyenhof

Living for Jesus

The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. --1st John 2:17 (NIV)

"Only one life will soon be past. Only what's done for Christ will last."

I can't count how many times my mom and grandma have echoed these words to me. It was something that my great-grandma always used to say, and I can't help but think of that catchy little phrase when I read 1st John 2:17. More and more I am reminded of how fleeting our lives here on earth really are, and how I need to make sure that I'm living it in such a way that the things I do will be able to withstand time.

I don't know about you, but I want my life to count for something. I have given my whole heart to the Lord, and asked him to do with it as he sees fit. I pray that he will continue to shape me into the kind of godly woman of whom he can be proud. More than anything, I want to reach the end of my life, stand before the Lord and have him welcome me into his kingdom with the words "well done good and faithful servant".

When I was a teenager, I made a public profession of my faith in my church before my family, our church's congregation, and the church's leaders. Nearly a decade has passed since that time, but my growth as a Christian is never finished. I feel as though I've only just begun to realize what kind of things are worth having and pursuing in life. The biggest learning experience for me has been my marriage. There is something wonderfully inexplicable that happens to a person's spiritual life when given the opportunity to share everything on all levels with a spouse who knows the Lord and is committed to loving and serving him.

Some days, my spiritual life still struggles like it did when I was a new Christian. There are times when I really would like to give in to the thinking patterns of this world. I'm often tempted to do things that are self-serving, rather than do the things that God would have me do. It's not always easy to have the motivation to make the right decisions when you feel like you're the only one doing so. Being in the workplace can be a challenge as a Christian, but I have to remember that it's just another place where God has put me so that he can continue to teach me about himself.

Some day, our lives will be over. Our possessions, family members, everything we hold dear will be left behind. The most important thing isn't to make a name for ourselves based on what we have, but based on who we are. A recent caller to the Dr. Laura show was considering changing his major because he didn't think being a social worker was something that he wanted to do. When asked what he was interested in instead, he replied that he wanted to be successful. I immediately knew why Dr. Laura laughed--it was because the caller's definition of success was obviously self serving.

For Christians, we know that success isn't determined by the size of a bank account or the type of car parked in the garage, or the number of degrees on your office wall. Worldly accomplishment is something very separate from living a life for Jesus. I happen to think that those blessings may be given to some as a result of living in a way that pleases God, but I don't think they define success. As Christians, we don't need to strive to achieve the things the world emphasizes. We know that we are not compelled to accumulate as many things as possible before we reach life's finish line. For those of us who believe in the resurrection of Christ, and life eternal for those who believe, we know that death isn't the final chapter of our lives. If we have followed the will of God and have a personal relationship with Jesus, we will live eternally in heave.

Living as a Christian means we need to strive for things that other people might call foolish. Not everyone can understand why I go to church with my husband every week, or why it is important to me to attend church on Good Friday. When I was in college, some of my friends didn't understand why I had such a great time hanging out with the "religious" people on campus at the Campus Crusade for Christ meetings each week. Those things are part of how I continued to grow in my relationship with God. I go to church because I know that it's what God wants me to do so that I can get to know him better. What I get out of it is not necessarily a tangible benefit, but I know that when I do the will of God, I will be eternally blessed.
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