What does it mean to be on a journey to “Christ-Centered Living”? For those of you reading this blog who are Christians you already know what this means. If you are perhaps of another faith, you might liken this to living as Buddha lived reaching a level of enlightenment, or if you are from the Middle East, living a life following the teaching of Mohammed, or any other faiths that have deities whom the followers attempt to spend their life living up to a standard set before them.
Christianity is different in the way we believe the road the journey takes and where each believer is on that journey. We believe Christ is the only human who ever lived a sinless life. He was tempted like all of us are and yet he resisted. He was taunted and criticized, spat upon, scourged, beaten, and accused of many things which he was not guilty of and yet he did not talk back, he did not judge or sin against his accusers. When a person is saved, professes Christ as one’s savior, that life is dramatically changed in an instant.
There is no more striving to be “perfect” as Christ is perfect. There is only grace, forgiveness, and the intention to live by the commandments or laws, claiming the promises in the Bible [God’s word], reading scripture daily, confessing immediately when we do wrong [sin], praying, and listening for God’s voice in our lives, guiding us on the path. Maybe that sounds outrageous to you. Maybe this sounds too hard to attempt, much less accomplish, but it is not. Christ-Centered Living means putting God first in all things.
Putting God before what, you may ask? Before all the drama, distraction, to-do lists, email, social media, work, money, television, escaping to other things, putting volunteer activities before God, putting work or exercise before God, putting life before God, and so on.
I read a book several years ago which showed the progression of growth toward Christ-Centered Living. See if you can resonate with any of the progression.
Searching for God
Individuals in this portion of the progression, are exploring who Christ is. They may pick up a Bible and read it from time to time. These folks may pray occasionally seek something, but do not know to seek guidance from God in prayer. Most of what they know about being saved is not critical to their daily way of living.
Knowing Christ and Their Church
Once a person is saved, the growth is much like a toddler learning to ride their first bike without training wheels – it is awkward, clumsy, and they often tip over and fall. The growth on this journey may be awkward, but it is steady. These Christians frequently reflect on the scripture they read in their Bibles. They seek to understand what the text is saying. When a person understands the value in scripture, they begin to act on what they read by praying, tithing, volunteering to serve others, attending church four times a month, participating actively in the offerings that their church has for them to stay engaged, and to have fellowship with fellow believers. These folks also go above and beyond by seeking out mentors who are on the phase of this journey and they know and begin to use their spiritual gifts.
Maturity In Christ
The third leg in the progression toward Christ-Centered Living is what you would expect. Those attributes previously listed become stronger. These individuals do put God first in their “Vertical Relationship” and they realize that when they allow distractions to take first place in their lives, they quickly become derailed and begin to allow strongholds in their lives. These mature Christians read their Bibles daily, they reflect on what they read and how it applies to their life today, they understand the idea that everything they have, and all their money already belongs to God and to give back 10% and God will bless them for obeying one of His commands. These folks look for times of solitude to be alone with God, to pray, listen for His guidance and what He wants them to do. They know to follow a pattern of prayer where they give adoration, lift praise, and thanksgiving. Mature Christians know that unconfessed sin hinders God’s work in and through them. They find it easy to talk to others about their faith and explain their relationship to God. They may journal their prayers, praises, and answered prayers. These Christians see the value in staying in the church, staying in a group that studies the Bible, staying, and serving others in their communities and globally.
Being a Christian is an exciting process of discovering who you are in Christ and how knowing Him, reading His Word, and Serving others fulfills the deepest needs in a human. It is not enough just to proclaim this in a blog. It is necessary to see and feel this in action. Have you ever met a person who seemed to be bright-eyed, optimistic, with a smile on their face who seemed to exude something you couldn’t put your finger on? I bet if you asked them if they were a Christian, they would say yes. Christians know when they meet another Christian, there is something about them that is unexplainable and hard to put into words….that is Christ’s love emanating through them.
We live in troubled times, if the world should end tomorrow, what regrets would you have? What sinful deeds have you not confessed? Who have you deleted from your life that matters to you? What is missing in your life? What will happen to you when life as you know it ends?
You can know for sure.
If you are interested in knowing where you can find out, send me an email at the email below in the box.