I got saved when I was 14. I was on fire for the Lord. I just didn’t know much and I had no idea what to look for. I looked for God for years. I knew there was more. God was a giant. Jesus was a giant and I could only see a miniature version of Him so I went on this journey to find my great God. Too many things were giants in my life. Too many things took precedence over the Lord. I looked like I was growing spiritually going to church on Sunday and doing my best to be a good person. It didn’t lead me closer to God. It took me closer to religion and to a gospel where God was not the center. Too many things in my life were at the center of my attention and they were taking the seat that belonged to the Lord. It is easy to appear holy and good one day a week and live your own life the rest of the week. I made appointments with God based on my schedule but He had a totally different agenda for my life. I kept ignoring the signs and the messages. I had my own God, a small God and I focused on that. I feel like it took me years to be saved even though I was saved. After a long time I finally got a better understanding of what a relationship with the Lord looked like. I couldn’t be in the center of that relationship. I had to die to self and let God be God. It was hard but it was the most rewarding thing I have ever done. Dying to self is excruciating especially because of our old ways and the patterns we have had. However, it is the best way to get to know Jesus. It is what we need to have an encounter with Him. I held on to so much but when I let go, God came in. When I let go, my eyes were open.
I am talking from experience here but it’s experience that was generated by the teachings of the Bible. Things started to change spiritually for me when I put God at the center of my worship, my praise, my prayers and my attention. Have you ever realized how much of you can be at the center of all these things? It is a tough realization but when it hits you, it wakes you up from a sleep where dreams are about you and where God makes cameos from time to time. If we love God for what He does for us, we put ourselves in the center of everything. Why? Because we love Him for what He does for us and not for who He is. It’s not about who He is. It’s about what His actions are in our lives. It’s about getting something out of the relationship we have with Him. It’s about being satisfied by what He does and not simply by who He is. We should always be grateful and thankful for what He does. We should praise Him for that but our initial instinct should be to glorify Him and exalt Him for who He is. Jesus is our Savior. That is reason enough to celebrate Him. He is good and He is kind all the time. That is reason enough to celebrate Him. We were made to worship Him and not to worship His creation. He is the creator that deserves all our praises. Our relationship with Him should be about Him first. It should be about getting to know Him. Being content with getting to know Him more than getting excited about what He gives us.
There is a subtle trap we can fall into. It’s the trap of seeing God as a genie or a provider and nothing else. It’s the idea that the gospel is about gain and not about giving. It’s the idea that the gospel is more about self-improvement and self-empowerment and not about how God improves us and how He empowers us. All power goes to Jesus and our lives should reflect how we recognize His power and His sovereignty in our lives. It’s not the gospel of the “I am almighty through Christ who strengthens me.” It is the gospel of the good news of Jesus who came to save us and who loves us. He does empower us and He should be regarded as the source and the essence of the power in our lives. Becoming more God-centered was a game changer in my life. I gave Him more of my time. I started having regular worship and prayer sessions every morning and every night. The worship was all about Jesus. I sang my heart out. I cried because of His goodness and I did all that in the privacy of my dorm room. My phone was on silent. I removed all distractions and I had my time with the Lord. It became the best time of my day. He became the center of my attention. My life took a turn for the better when the better part of it was all about Jesus. The enemy had been playing games with my life but surrendering to the Lord renamed the game by giving it a heavenly twist. Jesus was the twist I needed. He rewrote the script when I gave up the pen and let Him take control of my story. Friend, it is all about Jesus. It’s never been about us. Actually Jesus makes it about us when we make it all about Him but He is the center. He is the reason why. He is the answer. He is the Messiah. He is the message. He is the gospel. He is the good news. He is everything. Make it all about Him and you will never go wrong!
Suggested reading: Matthew 6:33; Matthew 10:38-39; Colossians 3:17