When I try to thank Jesus for dying on the cross for my sins, I realize there are no words. I can never repay him for what he has done. Saying “thank you” is so inadequate. But I can begin to thank him by living for him.
When we think of living for him, our mind may turn to a flurry of service, perhaps in a church or another ministry. While that is good and important, I think we need to begin by loving him. Drawing close to him. Getting to know him better through prayer and his Word. Jesus explained the most important commandments this way:
“Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”
Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:36-40)
When we love him with our whole being, his love will flow through us to touch others. And in all that, we honor him.
Loving him means trusting him, no matter what our circumstances. “And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).
Loving him means communicating with him. “Pray continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:17 NIV). It’s good to pray with others in church. It’s important to pray during a quiet time each day. But he wants us also to be more aware of his presence throughout our day and night and chat with him as we go. What a privilege!
Loving him means getting to know him better through his Word. “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right” (2 Timothy 3:16). We need to be sure we are not doing a daily Bible reading so we can check that off our to-do list. We need to read because we yearn to know him better. “Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness” (1 Peter 2:2-3).
Loving him means obeying him. “Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them” (words of Jesus in John 14:21).
Loving him means using our God-given gifts to serve him and one another. “God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen” (1 Peter 4:10-11).
Loving him means telling others about him, not only through the words we say but also through the life we live. “Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God” (Ephesians 5:1-2).
Jesus, help me to thank you for dying on the cross for my sins by loving you and living for you. Because of your gift of life, I am forgiven and will spend eternity with you.