I had to pull off the freeway and stop for a cup of cocoa at a Cracker Barrel Restaurant so that I could write down what the Lord was trying to tell me about writing this essay on the Christ-Centered Life. For several weeks I’d been pushing away the idea: “I’ve been too busy,” “It’s Christmas” as if that explained everything and “I can’t write about that, I’m not perfect yet.” Usually the ideas come and I complete the essay within a few days, but not this time. I didn’t feel worthy of writing it; I didn’t know enough; and besides, it was presumptuous of me, not a learned Christian, to even think of writing about this topic. Ten days ago as I drove I-85 on the four-hour trip from Charlotte to Atlanta to visit family there, my mind was filled with ideas about why I should write about the Christ-Centered Life. I had to transcribe what the Lord was clearly telling me before I forgot. So over that cup of cocoa I opened myself to an alternative way of thinking about this subject.
This is the truth: only the Lord is perfect, what he requires of us is faithfulness, not perfection. I know only what I have experienced and what He has given me to understand. So here I go….As I’ve said elsewhere(in “Beliefs: Gateway to the Life of the Spirit” 2/12/08) I don’t rely too much on beliefs in myself or others, I am most interested in the quality of the life lived, how much love is expressed, how good a servant to the Lord and to others anyone is—all that speaks loudly of whether a person leads a Christ-Centered life or not. In reality only God knows the faithfulness of a person in serving Him, because it is hard for us to know another’s heart or the many motivations that color our actions.
The issue of a Christ-Centered Life is really between you and the Lord, but I offer some questions to help you assess the quality of that relationship: How often in a day or week do you turn to Him for guidance? Are you a church-going Christian who, while highly moral, never seeks God out between services? Do you invite him into your daily schedule and pray for his blessing in everything, always asking that you be acting in His will in everything you do? Do you know that God cares for every single item on your agenda and wants to help you with all the items whether they are “religious,” “spiritual,” or material? Do you compartmentalize religion, separating it out from your everyday work and family life? Do you ask Christ to accompany you into difficult situations or relationships that need to be heeled? Do you ask what His will and plan is for you in this minute, this day or this lifetime, at home, at work, with family and other relationships? How would you rate the quality of your relationship with the Lord? Will you ask Him to open your heart and mind to deepen your relationship to Him until you depend on Him for everything?
Surrender is the way, no matter what the difficulty you face, surrender is the way to a profound relationship with the Lord. We must surrender control of and our need to control every situation in our lives. God cannot do anything until we make way for Him by releasing control over our lives and over each decision we make. I think this happens in two ways: first, when you surrender your life to God initially, and then secondly, day by day, minute by minute, surrendering the things that arise, recognizing that God has a better plan for you than you could possible conceive. Just let Him work in you, in your life and in the lives of the people you care about. See how much better your life works, how much more peaceful you feel, and how you and others are transformed by His love.
Once you surrender, whether one situation or a lifetime, the next step is to listen to what He is trying to say to you, what He wants you to do. Then you do what you are told, just like the obedient child, not always understanding why, but doing it because you see His great love for you, knowing that He knows what is best for you.
The Way is simple: surrender, listen, then act on what He says to you. Love like you have been loved.
Fortunately, I always carry a notepad with me so I can record any inspiration or remember any idea that resonates in me. Probably the Lord had been trying other ways to penetrate my mind awash in Christmas preparations, but I had been too busy to listen. In the car, away from other distractions, I had plenty of time to think and His thinking finally cleared all the hurdles in my mind.
last edited on October 3rd, 2009 at 8:47 PM