Putting Jesus at the ‘center’ of your life

Published 8:35 am Friday, December 7, 2018

By Hunter Greene
If you were to make a list of your most important priorities, what would it look like? Because we are good Christians (right?), I imagine most of us would make our list look something like this: 1) God 2) Family 3) Work 4) Recreation. However, if we were to make a percentage chart of how much time we spend with each of these categories, it becomes something like this: 1) Work 2) Recreation 3) Family 4) God. It is no secret that a lot of us, myself included, spend a majority of our time making money, watching TV, and taking naps while the remaining hour or two a week (if that) we have left is given to God, usually in the form of some church service. We tend to make a hierarchy of priorities in our lives based on which is the most important. Yet, our realities present evidence contrary to what most of us believe about what is important to us.
I have always heard that we make time for the things that matter to us. While there may be some truth to this, I don’t find it to be the most helpful or practical advice. Let’s be honest. Most of us say we value God’s Word, but we actually spend very little time reading it, and if we do, it is usually through the lens of some devotional book. Most of us say we find prayer to be essential to our lives, but we actually only pray over our food in hopes of it not getting stuck on the way down. Most of us say we believe in the transforming love of Christ, but we aren’t all that willing to stop on the side of the road as the Good Samaritan did. When we organize our lives based off this hierarchy and fail to live up to the standards we or others set for us, we end up feeling like failures with the burdens of guilt and shame placed on our shoulders.
I want to suggest to you that Jesus isn’t interested in being the top of your priority list (I know it sounds a bit heretical but keep reading). He isn’t worried about competing with the thousands of obligations and responsibilities we commit to. Jesus doesn’t want to be the top of your list. Rather, He wants to be the center of your life.
Colossians 1:15-20, “Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.”
God has created the world with Christ being at the center of His will. Even when the sin entered the world and destroyed the relationship we had with God, God has still chosen to reconcile the world to Himself through Jesus Christ. The world revolves around the Son of God, and we must realize that any position we give Christ other than the center of our very existence is not worthy of Him.
So why does this distinction matter? Because when we make hierarchies and lists in our lives, we fall prey to the assumption that we are growing in the Lord because we can check a box at the end of the day. Read my Bible for 15 minutes? Check. Pray for 10 minutes? Check. Tell one person about Jesus? Check. Ultimately, our relationship with Christ is reduced to a religious form of legalism in which we justify our lifestyles as long as we check God’s box at some point during the day.
Christ doesn’t want to be checked off some list, not even if He is at the top. No, Jesus wants to be the very reason that you do everything you do. He wants to be the center of your life. Because when Christ is at the center rather than the top, it transforms our entire perspective on life. I can make Jesus a “priority” and still completely miss the rich depths of a relationship with Him. When Jesus is at the center, I can’t get Him off my mind or out of my heart. He becomes my focus at church, at home, at work, and even at the mall or football game. Jesus being at the center of the universe as well as our lives means that He becomes the dominant force which gives our lives direction and purpose. Every thought and movement becomes about Him. I encourage you to stop making your faith about rituals rooted in some religious guilt trip. Jesus doesn’t want to be contained to some ritualistic cage. He would rather walk with us and talk with us in the richness of a relational faith.
(The Solution Column is provided by Pastor Brandon Young of Harmony Free Will Baptist Church, Hampton, and his associate, Hunter Greene.)

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