Many years ago I was asked by a church that sponsors our ministry if I had a “life verse”—a passage from the Bible that defined my life, my calling, my ministry.
I had heard two other people talk about this concept before, as it related to their own lives.
The first was Steve Bateman. In the 1980’s he served as a youth pastor in Houston and would sometimes visit students from his youth group for lunch in my high school’s cafeteria. So during the spring semester of my senior year, when my friend Renee and I started investigating religion, he was a natural person to seek out for answers to our questions. The influence Steve and his wife Lori have had on my spiritual formation—and life trajectory—cannot be overstated.
Steve’s life verse—which is mounted on the wall of his office—is Luke 9:62:
“But Jesus said to him, ‘No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.’”
The second was Elisabeth Elliot, the famous missionary, martyr’s wife, author, and speaker. I had the profound privilege of taking part in a small group Q & A with her many years ago. Ms. Elliot’s mind had already started to deteriorate (she was born in 1926) to the point where she had to pretty much read straight from her notes to present her talk at our student conference. (Not that this prevented any of us from hanging on her every word.) But during the Q & A session, when one of my friends asked, “Ms. Elliot, has there been a verse or passage from the Bible that has been a guiding force throughout your life?” she answered without hesitation:
“For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.” (Isaiah 50:7)
When the “life verse” question was posed to me, what quickly came to my mind, and has stuck there ever since, was Galatians 2:20:
“I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
This verse encapsulates the core beliefs, the driving forces, the sacred values of my life:
- Jesus loves me and wants a relationship with me.
- He gave His own life as a sacrifice for my sin to make that relationship possible.
- My old life was crucified with Him.
- I have a new life now—a life of faith.
- My life is no longer my own—it is Christ’s.
- Jesus lives inside me and is pleased to live His life through mine.
I would love to hear from you…
What is your “life verse”? Why is it important to you?