Most people have given at least some thought to what they might die for. Perhaps they would die for their spouse, or a child, or a friend, or their country, or an idea, or for Jesus. Of course, those choices are profoundly important, but a sad truth is that many people, if not most people, haven’t given much thought to what it is that they are living for. What you are living for is more important because it is also what you are likely to die for — and the final impact is marked by your whole life, instead of one small moment at the end of it.
Interestingly, some people are dying every day for the things they appear to be living for. Drug addicts and alcohol abusers come to mind. For some of them, every decision is made with the aim of getting high, or avoiding the pain for which they are really using those substances. Their choices in life are killing them, and the legacy of their lives is delivering a maiming blow to the people around them – both the people they know and say they love, as well as to people they’ve probably never met, or will never meet. They are living for themselves, and the impact of such a life is dreadful and bad. In varying degrees, this is the case for every person who lives for himself, not just people who do it with drugs. Living only for yourself robs others of the good God intends for them through your life.
Paul did not live for himself. He lived for Jesus, and for delivering a divine gospel to everyone he met. He expected you and me to do the same (Philippians 3:17), arguing that someone who recognized how Jesus had died for them should no longer live for themselves (2 Corinthians 5:15).
In no longer living for ourselves, we are expected to live for reconciling people to God. We are to dedicate our lives to helping people get right with the God who made them, who loves them, and who sacrificed for them. The expectation is so tremendous that Paul says we are ambassadors – meaning that we represent God and his kingdom as official agents. He argues with passion that Christ died so that we would become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:16-21).
What are you living for? What training are you undertaking to become an ambassador? How have you lived for the gospel? Are the people around you better off spiritually for the way you are choosing to live? What is more likely to impact this world, the life you are living, or the death you are likely to die? How will that impact manifest itself?