God In The Center
God in the Center
Becoming a Christian is relatively ‘easy’ – hear, believe, repent, confess, be baptized, live faithfully. It’s no small thing. Certainly not inconsequential. Absolutely important. I don’t want to diminish the act of becoming a Christian in any way – rather, I wish to, as Emeril Lagasse would say, take it up a notch. I want to challenge all of us, regardless of our spiritual maturity, or current season of life, to not be content just leaving it at that.
In the book of Revelation, we read of a church that is labeled by Christ as ‘luke warm’, we are introduced to people in scripture who fail to live up to the Christian life, and we are reminded of the importance of maintaining our Christian standard (Phil 3:16), being holy (1 Peter 1:16, Rom 12:1, Eph 1:4) examining ourselves to see that we are in the faith (2 Cor. 13:5) and continually adding to our faith (2 Peter 1:5-8).
Becoming a Christian – is, in fact, both; one of the easiest, most passive things we can do – simple submission – and one of the hardest, most difficult things we can do – simple submission. Becoming a Christian isn’t tricky - the trick is becoming a Christian with God in the center; obedience through submission, fully trusting in Him and His will, applying His word as He has given it, loving through free will choice (Matt 22:37, Phil 2:3-4), effective in talking the talk and walking the walk (1 Thes. 5:12a-18), unshakable example (Phil. 4:6-7), joyous, positive, excited and upbeat (Phil. 4:4) and faithful unto death.
With God in the center of our life…
no one and no thing can get in the way, between He and us – we can enjoy immunity from being rattled by the mundane or common place of this world
we experience far less stress, fear, anxiety or worry (James 1:2-4, 12, 16-18)
we experience far more trust, comfort, contentment, security, peace, faith, perspective, insight and confidence (Heb .13:1-6)
we can free ourselves from self – self-doubt, self-centeredness and self-destruction
we can free ourselves from others – seeking the praise of men, concern with threats or negative opinions of the ungodly, being drug through the worldly mire
we are effective for God, His church, and the world (Heb. 13:14, James 1:21-25)
Examples of lives with God in the center
An impetus of sorts for this lesson, Psalm 128 speaks, in part, to the life of those who have God in the center of their lives. In this Psalm, we have the picture of a family, lead by their respect of God, allowing their actions (v1) and decisions (v2) to revolve around Him. They are doing God’s will (v2-3) and they enjoy the blessings of this life (v4).
In this well known chapter, we have a who’s who of scripture, men and women who showed how to live with God in the center. Especially noted, we have;
Abraham, who ‘when he was called, obeyed by going…’ (v 8) and ‘when he was tested, offered up Isaac..’ (v 17) considering ‘that God is able…’ (v 19).
Joseph, who lived a life apart in a foreign land, all the while, never forgetting God’s good (Gen. 50:20)
Joshua, who gave his honest good report (Num. 14), took on the leadership of a nation (Deut. 31) and stood for God (Josh. 24:15)
Through clear evidence from scripture, we see Paul as a man having God at the center of his life. (1 Cor. 11:1, Phil. 4:11, 1:21, Gal. 2:20)
Keys to living with God in the center
Humility – James 4:6
Obedience – Phil 2:12-16
Love – Romans 8:28
Beware, strive and grow – 2 Peter 1:5-13, 2 Peter 3:17-18, Romans 12
With God in the center
We are able to see God for who He is – perfect, holy, loving and worthy of worship (James 1:12)
We are able to see God’s word for what it is – perfect, sure, right, pure (Psalm 19,
2 Timothy 3:16-17)
We are able to see sin for what it is – abhorrent, evil, worthy of punishment, not from God (Rom. 6:23, ‘…the wages of sin is death.” Rom. 14:23 “…whatever is not from faith is sin” James 1:13 “He himself does not tempt anyone”), including the moral decline we see today in the form of evolution, abortion, foul language, lowering of standards, and much more.
We are able to see nature for what it is – God’s own creation and revealing of His glory (Psalm 19). Things as simple as a sunrise or sunset, as amazing as the human body or the solar system, or as complex and non-accidental as Fibonacci’s sequence – an example of thinking God’s thoughts after him.
Without God in the center…
God revolves around us
God has a job to do – for us
If He’s not revolving around us, He’s not doing His job
If He’s not doing His job, He’s not a good God.
With God in the center…
God doesn’t revolve around us – we revolve around God
God’s only job is to be God
Being God, the God that He is, manifests certain qualities that we greatly benefit from, but that is His nature, not His job
God doesn’t need fixing
The Bible doesn’t need editing or revising
God deserves to be, can be, and should be worshiped in exactly the way He expects to be
God’s church isn’t antiquated and doesn’t need additions
God’s people are important
God’s will and my will fit together
A Reverse Invitation of sorts …
God does not revolve around us, we must revolve around Him – that is the healthy and proper relationship – and we can only do this when we invite him into the center of our lives. He will not force the issue against our free will, so we have to yield the center of our life to Him.
It’s God who is at work (Phil 2:12-13, 1:6) – you’re not here, now, by accident - don’t let this moment be in vain (2 Cor. 6:1-2).
Ken McCoy | Beaverton church of Christ | 503-644-9017