And he died for all, that those who live might live no longer for themselves

but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

II Corinthians 5:15


How often we are told that those outside the kingdom who have never looked into the face of God's mercy have nothing to live for. They may get excited about getting rich, or famous, or traveling around the world, but their lives are shallow. Sooner or later they're going to wake up depressed. This may be so. But is it only those outside the kingdom whose lives are without purpose? Can we honestly say that inside the Body of Christ;


- every life is purposeful?


- every soul is driven by a burning passion to do the will of God?


- that followers of Jesus get up in the morning singing and praising God, face their problems with   confidence?


Perhaps it should be that way. But the truth is that a high percentage of followers of Jesus who have passed beyond their honeymoon are less motivated than their brothers in the world.


- They don't get up in the morning praising God.


- They don't face their problems with confidence.


- They are confused, distracted.


- They don't even know which road to take.


Look at the multitudes of Christians in this land who are standing around staring into space. When some little fanatic comes jogging down the road full of joy and purpose, it makes them sick.


"Just you wait.            It won't be long brother, you'll lose your steam. You'll be like the rest of us."


But this little fanatic didn't just become a Christian yesterday, he's been at it for twenty-five years! Praise God there is a remnant of Christians, call them fanatics if you like, who keep right on going, who never lose their sense of purpose.


If we could gather all these joyful ones who maintain their zeal year after year,


- who still get up in the morning praising God,


- still consider prayer the most important function of their day,


- still confess Jesus before men,


- still keep serving even when no rewards ever come....


- if we could get these people together to find out what they have in common, we would discover that it's a very simple thing. We'd discover that their relationship with Jesus Himself is fresh,



                                           the joy of their life.


I've never yet met a saint of God who maintains that burning zeal who isn't absolutely obsessed with the wonder of Jesus. They just can't get over how good He is. Sister Gloria, 84 years old, out there serving God with the energy of a young woman. Why doesn't she stay in her rocking chair? Is the woman beside herself? Talk to her for five minutes and you find she's beside herself over Jesus. She just can't stop thinking about Jesus. She's so full of Jesus she can't contain it. So she preaches in jails, presides over a storefront, and when she prays she loses all sense of time... she's talking to Jesus! That woman has something to live for…. JESUS.


The beginning of a spiritual awakening in my life took place one cold morning in Nova Scotia. The clock radio was tuned to the wrong station. At 6:45, instead of the usual commercial for Dr. Ballard's Dog Food, I heard the raspy voice of Dr. Michaelson offering maps of Palestine and canned milk for the children of Algiers. Then he talked about Jesus. Hardly what you would call "Christian Radio." Anything but slick. But how he loved Jesus!


"0, but maybe he was a fake", someone says.


In 1958 Dr. Michaelson spoke on the east side of Detroit. Afterward he needed a ride to the Pick Fort Shelby Hotel (now long gone.). It was like being in a V.W. with the apostle Paul. The whole way ... Jesus! That man had something to live for. He was obsessed with Jesus.


You open your Bible to the letters of Paul.


"For me to live is Christ, to die is gain."


"I count everything as loss for the surpassing worth of knowing that Jesus is my Lord."


"...count everything refuse that I might win Christ..."


"I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me."


You wonder how Paul kept going through shipwreck,





He had something to live for:    JESUS.


In every case, the driving force of these lives is a burning love for Jesus. They're far beyond seeking spiritual fame, or spiritual "success" or "spiritual" fortune for themselves. They have no desire to build some wretched kingdom of their own, or make some ridiculous name for themselves. Their one desire is to win Christ and be found in Him. They are obsessed with Jesus.


- If your natural mind is raising arguments against this idea,


- If you are saying you don't want to be so narrow-minded,


- If you are thinking that you don't want to be so obsessed with Jesus, that you'll never get anything worthwhile done.




l. It is impossible to be close to Jesus and bored with life.


Perhaps there are people reading these words who are bored with life. You get up in the morning and face the day with a yawn ... life is so dull. Sometimes you wish you could go back to bed and sleep forever. If you know Jesus and are walking with Him, this cannot happen. He will absolutely transform your dullest routine into an adventure.


"Fear not, henceforth thou shalt catch men."


"He who believes in me, the works that I do shall he do also, and greater works shall he do because I go to the Father."


"As the Father hath sent me, even so send I YOU."


The minute you come into a living relationship with Jesus, it's like rising from the dead, like waking out of sleep, coming from darkness into light.


Perhaps some of us once tasted these things, but now our lives are dull. It's a sign that we've allowed our re­lationship with the Lamb of God to dry up.


Pursue Him!

Come back to Him'! Know Him!

Walk with Him!

               - And you will have life!

or not sure whether we are where we're supposed to be,

2. It's impossible to be close to Jesus and uncertain of our call.


When we're uncertain of our call, it's a sign that we've drifted from Jesus Himself. For when we come into com­munion with Him, He immediately makes us to know our call. If we are not sure whether we are where we're supposed to be, he will make that clear to us. Until then we minister where we are until he clearly shows us to move.


"You did not choose me, I chose you and ordained you that you should

go and bring forth fruit...."


You come back to work on a Monday morning and meet a woman who for months was depressed and at loose ends. As soon as you look at her you know her confusion is gone.


"What happened to you over the weekend," you ask.


"My husband and I got back together."


Multiply this by a million and you have some idea how our sense of our call is restored when our union with Jesus is restored.


3. It is impossible to be close to Jesus and not have specific work to do.


There is an army of people, particularly in North America, who go to church, fellowship meetings, read Christian books, listen to Christian records and tapes, tune in Christian radio, watch Christian T.V.,


- but all they ever do is sit.


They have everything "Christian" except Jesus, everything but a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. When you're in touch with Jesus he clears your mind so you know what you have to do ... you can't just sit there.


- Go ye into the vineyard.

- Go make disciples.

- Go into all the world and preach the good news to every creature.

- Go into the streets and lanes of the city.

- Pray the Lord of the harvest that he would send forth laborers.


If you meet Jesus afresh today, you're not going to float through another week like a jellyfish on a summer afternoon, you're going to put your hand to the plow and move.


4. It is impossible to be close to Jesus and fear the Cross.


A lot of professing Christians are depressed by the Cross. They don't mind having their sins washed away, but they're terrified of being crucified with Christ, paranoid about denying themselves, picking up their cross daily, and following Jesus. They just want to be "positive" as they say.


But when you get to know Jesus and to love Him,

           adore Him,

                                                           worship Him, and He says, "Now child, it's time to walk through the valley of the shadow of death," you fear no evil.


"As long as you're with me, Lord, what do I have to fear? If I have your rod and staff to comfort me, what more can I want?"


"That I may know you, Lord, not only in the power of your resurrection, but in the fellow­ship of your suffering, and be made like you in your death."


5. It is impossible to be close to Jesus and not convey life to those around you.


But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumph, and through us spreads the fragrance of the know­ledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?


He that hath the Son hath life and

he that hath not the Son hath not life.


When you have life, you give life.


The person who is walking close to Jesus may not mention his name in every sentence, but somehow that person con­veys life — the aroma of Christ;


- strong encouragement,

- strong hope,

- confidence,

- that even in the midst of difficulties God is present, working things out.


Is a living, burning, constant relationship with Jesus such a hard thing? Of course not!


- Anyone who really wants it can have it.

- Anyone who pursues it, gets it.


"He who comes to me I will in no wise cast out."


"Ask and it shall be given you...."


"He shall call upon me and I will answer him."


There is not a soul reading these words who needs to be without it.


One question: Are you willing that Jesus should be no longer your buddy, your mascot,

your good luck charm, your "Mr. Fix It",


- but your life? Your LIFE!


"For me to live is Christ."


And he died for all, that those who live might live no longer for themselves

but for him who for their sake died and was raised.


Am I living no longer for myself, but for him who for our sake died and was raised?


- What else is there to live for?


- What else makes any sense?



"God, give me the joy,


  the blessing,


              the liberty, to get up in the morning and not have to live for myself,

              but for Jesus my Lord."


God, bring us all to the place where we are no longer living for ourselves,

but for Him who for our sake died and was raised.