Destined for Victory – To Live is Christ: A Statement For Life

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By Paul Sheppard

In one sentence, Paul gives his mission statement for living. He says, “For me to live is Christ.” His whole life is about Christ, loving Him, serving Him, praising Him, enjoying Him and ministering in Jesus’ name. It’s a simple mission: living for Christ and Christ alone.

In the world, I see four common things that many people choose to live for: prosperity, popularity, power and pleasure.

The Bible doesn’t say it’s wrong to seek these things in moderation. They aren’t necessarily negative, but they can’t be your foundation for living. Prosperity, popularity, power or pleasure might be features of life, but they can’t be the foundation.

God isn’t against you making money, but He doesn’t want you to have money with no divine purpose. He wants you to invest in the kingdom of God. He has a divine purpose for prosperity.

There’s nothing wrong with being popular, if you use that popularity to bring glory not to yourself, but to God. The goal is to reflect the glory of God while you’re popular. You can be just, loving, kind and honorable, at the same time you’re popular.

Sometimes God blesses His people with power jobs. God can use Christians in places of influence, as long as they live in obedience and integrity. Power can corrupt many people, but not if you submit it to the Lordship of Christ and use it for good.

As far as pleasure goes, I have known Christians who think being saved means living in misery, and making sure everybody knows they’re miserable. I actually had somebody contact our radio ministry and complain that there’s too much humor on our broadcast. They thought God needed a somber frown on His face to get His message across. Thankfully, the God we serve loves laughter. He gives us joy as a fruit of the Spirit. He delights in blessing us with smiles and laughter.

So all of these things – prosperity, popularity, power and pleasure – can be wonderful features in your life, but they can’t be the foundation. They can’t be the reason for your living. God gives us a higher purpose for living.

Paul says, “To live is Christ.”

That’s the foundation. That’s our reason for living. We live to please God and follow Christ. When we live for God, we often attract the blessings of these other features, but not always. Even if we feel poor and powerless, we still have contentment in the will of God. This is a contentment that money can’t buy. It is a contentment that stays with us always, assuring us that we are blessed and loved.

With that kind of deep and abiding assurance, you can fall asleep at night knowing that God is good and you are blessed. That is the kind of contentment that all the money in the world cannot buy. What’s the point of getting rich and not being able to sleep at night? In Christ, you can be so content that your spouse will be tipping you on your side at night, trying to quiet your contented snores.

Live for Christ. Do everything with Him in mind. Everywhere you go, allow Him to lead. When you’re living for Christ, you can say with Paul, “If I die, things will get a whole lot better.”

Back when I was young, I’d hear the old saints sing about a blessed glory land, a home where the saints abide, and how on some glad morning they longed to be at the Savior’s side. I was a fairly typical kid, though, not so enthusiastic about flying away too soon. I had things I wanted to do. I wanted to get married someday. I wanted to see the world first.

Knowing what I know now, I see how cheap all these earthly desires are compared to the fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore that God has prepared for us in heaven. We have some incredible, unimaginably wonderful things to look forward to!

Keep the main thing the main thing.

Having the right eternal outlook helps put your present uncertainties in perspective. There is no downside to life in Christ. There is no downside to death in Christ. All we have to look forward to is good. And even here on earth, God is working all things out for good for us who are called according to His purpose.

Do you have any unfinished business with God? If so, then get it done today. Living for Christ means putting Him first in all things. It means rejecting the sinful ways that lead to death, in favor of God’s abundant life. He wants to bless you in ways you never dreamed of.

He wants to bless you as Paul describes in his letter to the Ephesians:

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think… — Ephesians 3:20 (NKJV)

God has unimaginable blessings in store for us, both on earth and in heaven. He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above all that we can ask or imagine. God is better than the best father on earth. He delights in overwhelming His children with good gifts, both on earth and in heaven.

The apostle Paul writes:

Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. — 1 Corinthians 2:9 (NKJV)

Those are some mind-blowing blessings!

If you love Him, He has some stuff in store for you.

If you love Him, He has some blessings for you.

If you love Him, He has some provisions for you.

If you love Him, He will take you places you never dreamed of going.

It’s not that hard to imagine, when you look back and see what He has already brought you through. We’ve all been up against impossible odds, stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea. Talk to the older saints you know, and you’ll get an earful of miracles. God is so good, He has carried us past so many dangers, toils and snares. His mercy is everlasting, and His grace leads us on. You’ll never know how many times you were on the devil’s hit list and God said, “It’s not going to happen.” You should be gone by now. The devil had you in his sights, marked to kill, steal and destroy, when God intervened. God said, “Not this time. That one’s mine. My purpose for that one is abundant life.”


Favor ain’t fair


Those who live for Christ experience God’s favor. And here’s one thing you need to know about favor: Favor ain’t fair.

What do I mean by that? I mean that nobody, no matter how good they think they are, deserves God’s favor. You and I are not “worthy” of His abundant blessings. We don’t have the qualifications. We haven’t earned them. And it’s just like your haters to remind you of what you don’t deserve. They say, “Who are you to think you deserve to be forgiven? You’re the last person who deserves to go to heaven.”

You know what? They are right. But thankfully, God’s favor ain’t fair. He gives us His favor, even when we don’t deserve it.

Favor ain’t fair.

God’s grace and forgiveness makes no sense, but He gives it anyway. There is more than enough grace for those who ask. God’s comings and goings, His fixing broken things, His reversing things, it  all doesn’t make any sense.

From my human perspective, I look around sometimes and think I’m at the very back of the line. All these other people are getting served ahead of me, and it’s unlikely I’ll ever see the front of the line. Then, all of a sudden, God says, “About face!” He makes everybody turn around, and suddenly I’m first in line! And the people down at the other end are shaking their heads saying, “What just happened? How did he get to the front of the line?”

Favor ain’t fair.

God blesses those who decide to live for Christ. To the world, that makes no sense. God is good, because that’s His nature. He delights in blessing His people. He doesn’t have to run it by the committee to get someone’s permission. He just says it and it is done.

Maybe you aren’t feeling those blessings right now. Maybe you’re struggling under a heavy load of discouragement.

Live in Christ, and be encouraged. He is faithful, and He will never forsake you. All these troubles  are a sign that God is right around the corner, preparing to pour His blessings on you. He sees your uncertainties, and He’s not troubled in the least. He gives you the assurance and certainty that He hasn’t forgotten you, that He loves you, and that He has a much better place to take you to. He gives you enough joy for each day. He prepares a place for you where there will be no more tears. There will be nothing to cry about in heaven, only glory and blessings and abundant provision.

Get right with God today, because He has great things in store for you, exceedingly abundantly above all that you can ask or think.


This is an excerpt from the series “Keeping THE Main Thing the Main Thing” by Pastor Paul Sheppard. You can hear Pastor Paul’s radio show, “Destined for Victory,” weekday mornings at 9 a.m. MST on 94.1 FM or online at For more information, go to


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