To live is Christ and to die is gain. (Philippians 1:21)
Even a casual reader of the New Testament recognizes that Christ was at the center of the apostle Paul’s life. The question that each of us should ask ourselves — and answer — is this: Is Christ at the center of my life too?
It is all too easy to push Christ out to the circumference of our lives. If someone called us to account on this, we might indignantly insist that we still have Him sitting on the throne of our lives . . . but in the quietness of our hearts we would have to admit that there are times when we move His throne out to the outer edges of our lives. There are a great many voices vying for our attention and we are all too easily distracted.
You may remember how the Tree of Life was located in the center of the Garden of Eden. God’s Word is giving us a vivid picture, teaching us that God, who is the very source of life itself, must always be at the center of our lives in every way. We were made by Him and we were made for Him — for in Him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28).
God created us all for worship, so everyone — both Christians and non-Christians alike — will always be worshiping something. The question is, What is that something? If God is not at the center of our lives, something else will be. And that “something” is not necessarily a bad thing. Family is a good thing. Work is a good thing. Prosperity is a good thing. Health is a good thing. Recreation is a good thing. All these things are good things, but they can very easily become bad things when they become ultimate things – when we allow them to move to the center of our lives.
What is at the center of your life right now? What are you most passionate about? Into what are you investing your time, talent, and treasure? If you aren’t sure, ask those who are closest to you, because it is impossible to hide what we worship. Our deepest passions always rise to the surface of our lives. For those of you who, like Paul, have Jesus at the center, it will be obvious to those around you. They will hear you talk about Him. They will see you walk with Him. They will recognize that your greatest goal in life is to glorify God and expand the cause of His Kingdom, not your own.
Remember, it is “the fear of the Lord” (Psalm 19:9) — the constant, reverent awareness of the presence of a God who loved us enough to die on a cross for us — that keeps Him at the center of our lives. Of course, we will do this imperfectly. We are, after all, saved sinners; we have been saved by grace through faith, but we are still sinners nonetheless. We will fail, fall, and even forsake Jesus at times. The goal is perfection, but the best we can hope for is progress. May this progress, however slow and stumbling it may be, become the confession of our lives, as we seek to keep Him at the center of our lives.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!