A while back I asked the Lord to make me a “characteristic example of a life centered on God.” But as soon as I prayed that prayer, another thought came into my mind…
Maybe being “God-centered” is not enough.
You may be asking, “What is wrong with that?” Well, there is nothing wrong with living a God-centered life, generally speaking. On the other hand, there is more to being a Christian than being “God-centered.”
“Outrageous!” “That’s blasphemy,” you say. Well, is it? Stop and think about it for just a moment. Start with thinking about what being “God-centered” actually means.
Does someone have to be a true Christian in order to live a God-centered life? You may think so, at first, but there may be a few church folk fooling themselves. Don’t believe me? Read what Paul wrote to the Church…
“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” – 2 Corinthians 13:5 KJV
Why would the Apostle tell church people to “examine” and “prove” whether or not they were in the faith? Could it be that there were some who were going through all the motions, but were never converted, never born anew? Could it have been possible that there were some doing all the right things, for the right reasons, but not right with God? He says that the answer to the test will be whether or not “Jesus Christ is in you.”
Can people live God-centered lives and still be lost? To help answer this question, consider the following people (names are fictitious). Do their actions guarantee salvation?
- Bob goes to church every day the doors are open, including every other function on every other day
- Henry gives 20% of his income and 10% of his time to the church. If there is a need, ask Henry for help.
- Margaret goes to a Fundamental church, has the right translation of the Bible, and never wears pants – ever.
- Mary would never say a dirty word, tell an off-color joke, or even permit foul language in her presence.
- Sharon put aside marriage and gave her life to helping orphans on the streets of Mumbai, India.
- Scott and Karen have Bible studies in their home, take the kids to Sunday School, and even have gold crosses in every room of their home, not to mention on their necks.
- A rich young ruler keeps all the commandments (not just the Big 10) from his youth.
If these people were to examine themselves, as Paul asked, what might be missing? Colossians 3:23 says, “And whatsoever ye do, do [it] heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.” Is it not possible that someone could do everything for God’s glory (live a God-centered life), but still die without Christ?
What are your thoughts?
Have you “proven” whether you “be in the faith?”
Do you know of Scripture that supports a “God-centered” life being proof of salvation?
When contemplated what I had asked of God (to make me characterized by a God-centered life), the mental picture of a wheel came to mind. It was the picture of a wheel with a center hub and spokes, much like a bicycle or wagon wheel. As I thought about this, however, something seemed wrong. Something seemed almost selfish.
You see, when you look at a wheel, especially the kind with spokes and a hub, it may not be obvious at first, but there are parts. In such a wheel I can distinguish the spokes from the hub, and the rim from the spokes. I can even see that there are spaces in between the spokes that are empty and not attatched or filled with anything – just empty. If God is supposed to be represented by the hub, the center of the wheel, then the wheel is not really all about the hub, but the wheel itself.
It’s about Jesus
The Apostle Paul told the Athenians (Acts 17:28) that in Jesus we “live, and move, and have our being.” In a letter to the Galatians he said “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me” (Galatians 2:20). It would seem to me that Jesus should be more than our “hub.” He should be our “ALL.”
That is when I thought of a different picture. This time I imagined a solid circle – a disk. Unlike the other picture where God was the center of everything, yet separate, here was a picture of wholeness. In this picture, if my life is this type of wheel, people won’t notice anything about me, just Christ.
All of the spokes (my life, my dreams, my habits and hobbies, my talents, and my desires); the empty spaces (the areas of my life that seem irrelevant); and the rim (the total expanse of who I am – my identity, my sphere of influence); each part is now inseparable from the life and power of Christ who lives within me.
May they see Jesus
So, I no longer want to be characterized as a man with a God-centered life. I want to be a man characterized by the life of Christ. When people look at me, I don’t want them to say, “Hey, that guy really knows how to serve God,” or “Hey, that guy really loves the Lord.” Even though there is nothing wrong with those things, how much better would it be if they could say, “Hey, I met this guy… at first I thought he was that man they call Jesus.”
Remember, it was to the Church at Corinth that Paul said, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves.” There must have been some hearing this letter read who were deceived. Don’t be like them. Make sure your life is in Christ, and He is in you.
May your activities be “God-centered;” but your life “Christ-filled.” May the world see Jesus in you.
Can you distinguish between a God-centered and a Christ-filled life? What characteristics would you expect to see?
Do you think someone could live a God-centered life and still be unsaved?
Your comments would be appreciated.