From Self-centered to God-Centered Lives

Aug 14, 2023



As we begin to follow Jesus, it takes quite a while before we truly begin to feel the changes in our lives. We will sense those changes in terms of the fruit of the Spirit: love, peace, joy, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and humility (Gal. 5:22-23) arising in us. Or we will feel it in the lightening of our burdens. Or we will feel the changes in realizing what is the purpose of our lives, that fulfilling action which God’s healing action in us has produced. So often it has been the worst challenge of our lives which is healed now in us that leads us to helping others deal with the same challenge. This healing and helping others in their challenges brings us fulfillment beyond anything we could have imagined.  When we truly follow God’s leading to our purpose, that is when we truly feel fulfilled.


There is no end to the story of our lives as we follow Jesus, until the day we die. When I think about my life, I see the arc of my life starting with the hell-fire-and-damnation church of my childhood. Then it moves to my early adulthood when I was convinced that God was like a raven on my shoulder ready to zap me for anything that I did wrong. As I look back now, I see God’s footprints everywhere—past and present, long before I gave my life to Him in my early 40s and have followed Him ever since. He’s the reason I trained to become a spiritual director and have written a blog for 15 years and four books about living this life of following Jesus seen through the lens of a spiritual director. Because of His presence in my life, I have been healed of so much cultural/worldly stuff. And I live a life of gratitude and love.


Our culture is focused on our being self-centered, doing it all for me and mine, but what purchase, what amount of money accumulated, what thing that we acquire can truly fulfill us? Mostly, we are happy for a minute or hour or so and then it’s on to getting the next thing on our list or more money which also won’t fulfill us. But the ads we see everywhere from billboards to TV keep reminding us that our attention is to be on accumulating stuff. It was interesting to me that during the Covid-19 epidemic people had so much more time because of working from home. And so many Americans changed jobs, even careers, or went back to school to learn something new. A more thoughtful approach to life brought their attention to other avenues of doing and being.


Even many Christians are more American than Christian. They may believe in God and Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, but they would not follow Jesus. They believe in Him and then live as they always have. Christian Nationalists is the name given to these Christians. They feel that they don’t have to change a thing about their lives or how they treat people or the other things they believe in. They are just fine, because they believe in Jesus Christ, have joined a church and settled in. They know that they are going to heaven in the afterlife, so that takes care of everything.


Jesus called every one of every age to believe in Him AND to follow Him, to be led by the Holy Spirit into the life that God created each of us to live. To live as God commanded us to live. To dedicate ourselves and our lives to being servants of the Trinity. To have the love of our neighbors, all of God’s children, the primary way that we love God, after we have learned to love ourselves. That is where we find true fulfillment.


Questions to ponder over the week: How am I doing in following Jesus? Do I listen for His inspiration? Do I surrender to what He asks of me? Or am I a believer who things that is enough of a commitment? What would it take for me to say a resounding “YES!” to Jesus, to pledge to follow Him wherever He would lead me? And what do I think I would gain from that decision?


Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who follow Jesus wherever He would lead us. May we love God with all of who we are. May we love ourselves and our neighbors whoever they may be.


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Two Announcements

  1. I am giving away a 10-week journaling guide to Jesus’s Two Great Commandments. If you are interested, email me at and I will email it to you, free of charge.
  2. My latest books, “Called to Help the Poor and Needy” and “A Study Guide to the Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount” are now in bookstores and on line. The first is about the more than 2,000 verses in the Bible which detail God’s instructions for caring for those in need. The second is a journaling/pondering guide to Jesus’s most complete sermon.





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