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JFH Devotionals by J.M. Farro

What Are We Living For?

"It's in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for." - Ephesians 1:11 MSG

When I was a junior in public high school in 1969, I began learning about a philosophy called "existentialism". It is an approach to life that emphasizes the individual and his freedom to choose. The people who subscribe to this philosophy must assume responsibility for themselves, which creates anxiety, anguish, and dread. There is no purpose or explanation at the core of their existence. They attempt to make rational decisions while living in an irrational universe. They view their lives as being characterized by suffering and inevitable death. They believe that there is no God or any other higher power. Though I had been raised as a Christian, when I began hearing about existentialism, I began to question my faith, and I became overwhelmed with doubt and despair. I kept asking myself things like, "Who am I, and what am I living for?"

I hear from a lot of parents who raised their children to love God and His Word, only to see them turn their back on their faith after a teacher, professor, or friend convinced them that there was no God, and that their lives had no true meaning or purpose. And it grieves my heart, because I know from experience how it feels to believe these lies from the enemy of our souls. Until I was almost 40 years old, I had doubts about God and the Bible. I still prayed and had some faith in Him, but I wasn't really sure why He had created me, and what He expected from me. Then, a few months before my fortieth birthday, I heard the Gospel as I had never heard it before, and I surrendered every aspect of my life to God for real. I was tired of trying to run my own life apart from God, and I desperately wanted Him to take control of it. I began reading the Bible for myself. I studied it day and night, and I asked the Lord to reveal Himself to me through it. And He did. The more I humbled myself before God, and the more I asked for His guidance and did my best to follow it, the more truth He revealed to me. And it changed my life forever.

When the Lord showed me Ephesians 2:10 (AMP), I was overjoyed. "For we are God's [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live]." Before I had shown up on Planet Earth, God had already prepared specific and unique plans for me that would enable me to "live the good life" that He created me to live. Because God is a good God, His plans for us are always good. And when we make up our minds to follow His plans, and not our own, then we will "walk in" the paths "He prepared ahead of time." Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) tells us: "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'"

But because God loves us, He warns us in His Word that we have an enemy who will stop at nothing to keep us from fulfilling our God-given purpose and potential. His name is Satan, and Jesus talks about him so that we can be aware of his diabolical plans to keep us from becoming all that God created us to be. In John 10:10 (AMP), Jesus says: "The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)." Just as God has good plans for our lives, Satan, "the thief," has evil plans for us. If we don't deliberately seek God and His plans and purposes for our lives, we will experience Satan's destructive plans by default.

Perhaps today, you are surrounded by people who are trying to convince you that God doesn't exist, or that He's not a good God. The Bible has some valuable advice for you. "Don't let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ." (Colossians 2:8 NLT) The truth is that "even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ." (Ephesians 1:4-5 NLT) God loves you so much that He sacrificed His only Son so that He could have a personal and intimate relationship with you, and so that you could spend eternity in His presence in heaven. And apart from God, you cannot live a life of meaning or significance. For He "has planted eternity in men's hearts and minds [a divinely implanted sense of a purpose working through the ages which nothing under the sun but God alone can satisfy]." (Ecclesiastes 3:11 AMP) Until you surrender your life to the Lord in earnest, you will always have a relentless sense of emptiness in your soul.

Don't wait until you are almost 40 years old, as I did, to put aside your doubts and surrender your life to Christ. Instead, grab hold of His truth today, and act on it with all your heart - "It's in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, He had His eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living…"! (Ephesians 1:11-12 MSG)

Prayer: Lord, I don't want to live a lie. I don't want to waste my life, or live without a sense of purpose. Today, I ask You to forgive me for trying to run my own life apart from You. I confess my independence as sin, and I surrender every area of my life to You right now. I receive Christ as my Lord and Savior, and I ask You to align my will, my agenda, and my plans with Yours. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit, and teach me how to seek You through Your Word, which is the ultimate truth. (John 17:17) Help me to experience the supernatural joy, contentment, and peace that are my inheritance in Christ. From now on, I will live my life in total dependence upon You. Show me how to fulfill my God-given purpose and potential. Thank You for enabling me to live "a resurrection life, a far better life than people ever lived on their own"! (2 Corinthians 5:15 MSG)

- J. M. Farro


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