...we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
2 Corinthians 5:14-15
You can't become a Christian without participating in the death of Christ. In order to live the new life that Christ offers, you first must die to your old way of living, to your old self. You must repent of your sin and leave it behind, surrendering your will for obedience to Christ. Only once you have died like this can you be made a new creation in Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, "if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" This aspect of belief is pictured beautifully in baptism. During baptism, the convert is plunged beneath the water symbolizing her participation in Christ's death. She must be symbolically buried with Him in this way before she can be raised up out of the water to live a new life. But what is the nature of this new life?
2 Corinthians 5:14 says that Christ died for us that so that we should no longer live for ourselves but for Him. Take the time to really think about this sentence. It is a radical thought! No Christian on earth right now should be living for himself. All of us should be living our lives day in and day out solely for Christ. Imagine how different our world would be if all believers did this! Imagine how different your life would be if you did it.
I can't help but remember the many movies that have played off a similar theme. Usually it runs something like this: The main hero in the story saves a man's life, and from that moment on the man owes the hero a debt of gratitude. He must follow him around and serve him continuously until he repays the debt. Only, you and I can never repay the debt we owe to Jesus. So we are called to follow Him and serve Him continuously our whole lives out of gratitude. Are you living for Jesus in this way? In what ways are you still living for yourself? For others? What do you need to leave behind or lay down today to really begin living for Jesus?
Father, help us to live for You!
For further reading... check out the entire book of 2 Corinthians.