“That’s what I live for!” “__________ is my life.”
Have you ever heard someone use one of these phrases? In regards to guns, fast cars, sports, fashion design shoes, clothes, or electronics - people often speak in superlative terms to describe the reality that they find elation and joy in being a part of some particular thing. “Shooting guns is my life.” “Shopping is what I live for!” We could call this their “assumed identity.” They are so consumed with these things that in their minds, it clearly defines who they are and all of the choices that they make.
“I am just a football junkie.” Or, “I only buy Nike.” We see assumed identities like these in many Americans, who see the activities they are a part of or the things they own as their distinctive self. They desire that others view them in certain ways. At times they are even willing to hide who they are behind these faux identities. They want their “bling” to sparkle so brightly that it blinds the viewer from the person wearing it. They want a sport, or a clothing tag to describe who they are. When people see them, they want people to see items and brands as their defining characteristic.
It is a sinful human tendency to seek identity in these things. Sadly, this is an endeavor that results in frustration and further dissatisfaction. Instead of being happy with the shoes I bought a month ago, my eyes turn to see the latest pair on the shelf or in the magazine. Instead of being satisfied with the iPhone in my pocket, I realize that the newer one is slimmer and faster. While my favorite football team is doing well this year, in a couple of years they may trade their best players and find themselves at the bottom of the athletic food chain. In setting my hope and identity in things that Jesus would refer to as that which “moths and rust corrupt, and thieves break through and steal,” I am setting myself up for broken heartedness and further dissatisfaction.
Christ did not find himself in this dilemma. Rather, He revealed where His identity was settled in John 8:29, “I do always those things that please [the Father].” It was His life goal to only live in obedience to God. This was what He invested His money in. This is what influenced His every decision. This is what informed every relationship. He lived differently than those around Him.
In John 4, He explained it to the disciples in these terms, “I have meat to eat that ye know not of.” He then went on to explain, “My meat is to do the will of him that sent me.” He was basically saying, “This is what I live for – to do whatever God wants.” This was His life goal. When His disciples questioned why He was talking to the Samaritan woman and why He was staying at Jacob’s Well waiting for the herds of Samaritans to come to him, His response would have simply been – This is what I was made for, teaching the truth of God to people. His identity was secured in that which could never leave Him wanting something greater, because there was nothing greater than obeying God.
Verse 39 tells us that God’s will was accomplished in the humble, lunch-skipping obedience of Jesus. “Many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him.” He had come to that place obeying God, and He had stayed in that place obeying God. Bringing people in faith to give glory to God was what Jesus lived for.
Food For Thought: What did Jesus live for? How does that compare to the way you live your life?