Everyone has a center; a place from which life flows. Think of center the way the heart works; a central organ pumping blood throughout the body. As long as the heart is pumping, the circulation of blood sustains life. If the heart stops, well, you get the point. Just as we have a physical heart that pumps blood throughout our body, sustaining our lives—we also (all of us) have a spiritual heart.
Here is how this spiritual heart works. Whatever it is in our life that we have elevated to the status of God (god), the supreme and ultimate reality in our life, is the very thing or person pumping energy and life into all areas and spheres of our life. In other words, our center drives every sphere and area of our life. It drives our personality, dreams, ambitions, vocation, career, money, family, relationships, decisions, emotions, feelings, actions, behaviors, reactions, responses, etc. The way we live in each sphere reveals the condition of our spiritual heart.
This is why when times our good and everything is going well, the true condition of the heart is able to have a sort of facade. However, when there is tension or situations in life, whether they be financial, familial, relational, emotional, transitional, the facade is stripped away and the spiritual condition of the heart is laid bare. This is the essence of the gospel and the work of the Spirit—to strip away the facade to reveal to people that everything, particularly their (spiritual) heart, is not healthy, it is not right.
For believers in particular, the tensions, valleys, struggles, failures, disappointments, and difficult times in life expose areas and spheres of our lives that do not have a healthy center. [Remember, one of the goals of the Christian life is to bring every sphere and area (of our life) under the Lordship of Jesus Christ (center).]
I guess the reason why I was prompted to write about this topic, this morning, is because of some recent revelations in my own life; areas of my life that have unhealthy centers. And there is a temptation that I could just chalk up my unhealthy centers and say, “This is the season I am in,” “It is has been a difficult time in my family and I’s life,” “I am under a lot of pressure,” “There is a lot of unknown variables in my life,” etc. However, I must realize that as James points out, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4). Paul puts it this ways in his letter to the church in Philippi, “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Phil 2:12-13). Furthermore, the author of Hebrews, throughout his exhortation, encourages believers to look to Jesus, “the author and perfecter of faith.”
I praise God this morning for exposing and revealing areas of my life that need to fall under the Lordship of Jesus. To be honest, it is not fun to be spanked by God; however, on the other hand, I would not want to be disciplined by anyone else.
I end with what I read this morning 2 Peter 1:3-15. In this passage, Peter explains that believers have been given everything they need to have the gospel, to have Jesus, to have the divine power of God, as their center driving and pumping (spiritual) blood to all areas and spheres of their life. In addition, Peter provides a list of qualities that should be in our life, and increasing. These qualities, according to Peter, described in God’s word, are extremely important. These qualities keep us fruitful, clear-headed, and grounded. Read this, and may we all be challenged this morning to have at the center of our life the gospel, Jesus Christ.
“3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,
4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.
5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge,
6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness,
7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.
8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.
10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.
11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
12 Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have.”C