From time to time the suggestion comes even into the minds of Christians – "Why live for God? Why don't you just live for yourself?" This suggestion appeals to the most basic instincts of fallen mankind – pride and the desire for independence. It is similar to the temptation given to Eve in the Garden of Eden. The idea the serpent was planting there was that "God knows that in the day you eat of the tree you will be wise", and by implication – wise enough to live without God's direction. So there is nothing new in this line of thinking. And the source of such thinking continues to be the Kingdom of Darkness.
I'd like to offer some reasons why it is best to live for God and not for yourself. Sometimes reasons help, but once you've seen the reasons, and the thoughts persist, the best thing you can do is use spiritual weapons and spiritual authority to bind the demons, and command the devil's forces to SHUT UP and go away. And you can set your mind on things that please God and tune the devil out. Even so, I think we can give plenty of good reasons why you and I should live for God and not for ourselves.
1. God loves us
God loved us so much that He gave His only begotten Son to be a sacrifice for sins in our place (John 3:16). The Bible says that if He did not spare His own Son, will He not together with Him freely give us all things? (Romans 8:32)
The Lord GOD sacrifices His own comfort and blessings for us to the point where it hurts Him. When He asks us to respond to His love, its very reasonable, and its not because He is selfish. The cross should demonstrate that to us.
We are dealing with an amazingly loving, caring God who generously gives us all things. Since we are going to be looked after so well under God's care, is it not reasonable to acknowledge His Kingly rule over us?
2. God is good
Before sin entered into the world, God made everything very good. Everything was in perfect harmony. The vegetation, the climate, the animals were all perfect. However, disruption and corruption entered the world essentially through the decision of mankind to deny God His rightful place of Lordship in the world. It is not that WE are good and GOD is evil. No, let us have the humility and clear-sightedness to realize that it is our rebellion which messed up things, and continues to mess them up. Embracing that path of rebellion and independence is insanity – its a proven way to mess up the beautiful world God created. Its just plain wrong to cut ourselves off from God's loving rule.
3. God is much smarter than we are
The LORD GOD Almighty made the heavens and the earth. He understands every mystery – both in the physical world and in the spiritual world. God understands everything. He understands how this Universe works. He understands cosmology, astronomy, geology, physics, chemistry, biology, computer science, psychology, the human brain, medicine, law, the arts, finance, sociology, music and every other field of knowledge you can think of. He understands eternal things. He understands the spiritual world. He knows all about the demonic spiritual entities that are scheming to lure you and destroy you forever.
But you (and I) have only a limited partial knowledge of any of these areas. We do not know the future. God does. God loves us so much and wants our well-being so much that he is going to reveal to us directions for our life that are going to work out much better than anything we could have planned for ourselves based on our limited knowledge.
God is not operating on a short term view. He is interested in our character more than our present comfort. He is more interested in our faith than our fun. This is why we should trust that God is working something good in us even when life is painful. Even when our life is painful, we should accept and believe that a Loving Father God is working what is good for us. That doesn't mean we should accept the devil's work as God's plan for our lives. We need to resist the devil. But we need to understand that above all of this there is a God who has every detail of the Universe and our future well understood. He desires that we overcome Satan and inherit the Kingdom of God. That is much better than rejecting God and trying to live independently of God.
4. We live in a world full of hostile and deceptive evil spirits
Gnosticism and various occult religions sometimes portray Satan/Lucifer as the liberator of humanity, and God as a cruel tyrant overlord. But this portayal is deception.
If you go off into this wide world without God, without reference to God and His laws, His ways, it is not so much God that will punish you, as you will break yourself, and you will open the door to demonic curses.
Satan is always seeking to destroy the souls of men. In living for yourself, in pursuing whatever your flesh and eyes desire, and your own importance in the world, you are going to come into conflict with other people. You are going to neglect something important in your life – be it family, relationships or something else. You are going to set your heart on something that won't be able to give you the promised satisfaction you were hoping for. One way or another (and there are too many ways to mention), you are going to be hurt, damaged, robbed and ultimately destroyed if you pursue this path to the end.
The prodigal Son in the story of Luke 15 wanted to live for himself, and he took the things he could from his father so he could go off and have a good time. But when the money (the resources) ran out, he fell on hard times. He found that people didn't care about him after all. He was brought to a very low place, feeding pigs and desiring pig food.
It was there, down in the mud, that he realised he was better off being a servant in his father's house than living his life without his father's blessing.
We need to realise that although there may be short term gratification in the path of sin, it leads to humiliation. There are thieves and robbers on that road. We are much better off doing the journey of life with God, than without God.
God has a purpose for us that is not merely focused on our own personal interests, but also on the well-being of others. He calls us to live a life of love. He calls us to be a bigger person that what we currently are.
But when we seek to live for ourselves, and reject God's place in our lives, we are going to open ourselves up to the malicious activity of demons that seek for nothing more than our eventual destruction. It is hard for them to conceal their malevolent natures so much that they often work to hurt the people of the world that are already firmly in their camp anyway. And this fact allows some people to wake up and receive God's love after all.