I am listening to the audio version of The Shack by William P. Young, and one concept from yesterday’s reading (listening) really got me thinking. [Yes, I realize that it is a fiction book; however there are some great insights in there.] God doesn’t want to be the top of our hierarchy pyramid, he wants to be the center of our carousel.
“I don’t just want a piece of you and a piece of your life. Even if you were able, which you are not, to give me the biggest piece, that is not what I want. I want all of you and all of every part of you and your day.”
― Wm. Paul Young, The Shack: Where Tragedy Confronts Eternity
When we think about our relationship with God in a hierarchy sense, (God first, husband second, kids third, etc.) we tend to treat it like a checklist. I did my half our devotion, I’m good for the day right? No! God wants to be a part of everything we do. He wants to be the center of everything we do. When we go to the grocery store, he wants to be there. When we go to the PTO meeting, he wants to be there. God is not an item on our checklist to be crossed off; he is supposed to be a part of us, an essential part of who we are. When we treat him like an item on the checklist this is more like religion than relationship.
I don’t follow Christ or walk in obedience because I have to, but because I want to. I really want to. Why? Simply, because I love Christ more than I love myself. I don’t do it because I want to please him (even though I really do); I don’t do it to make Christ love me (he can’t love me more than he already does). I don’t do it for rewards or blessings (although I do enjoy these). I do it because I can’t help but do it. My relationship with Christ is that important and that encompassing. Now, do I always get it right? No. I make plenty of mistakes; however, God’s grace is right there to cover them all.
It hasn’t always been this way for me. For many, many years I sat in a church pew on Sunday mornings waiting for something to happen. I knew there was something more. I felt it deep in my soul. I knew that Sunday morning Christianity wasn’t enough, but I couldn’t see how it was possible to live for Christ. I wasn’t willing to give up my life, my wants, or my pleasures. Yes, on Sunday mornings, there were times I was inspired to do so, but by Sunday afternoon my selfishness had returned.
Come on, we all know the scriptures:
“I have been crucified with Christ…” (Galatians 2:20a)
“…and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me…” (Galatians 2:20b).
“… and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and delivered Himself up for me.“ (Galatians 2:20c).
But it is one thing to know and another thing to live.
I wish I could put together an easy “how to” post on making God the center of your life (i.e living for Christ). But as such with life, it is anything but easy. What I can do is share where I started.
My transformation began with building a relationship with God. I did this by seeking him. I was kind of like a stalker. I started talking to him all the time, throughout my whole day. In bed, in my car (I started to think I needed a bumper sticker that said “I’m not crazy, I’m just talking to God”), at the park. I began telling God all my secrets, even the ugly ones. I was just honest with Him.
I also started reading the Word. I know someone of you are rolling your eyes at such a cliche answers, but I can’t help it; it is the truth. If you want to know God more and have a relationship with Him, you must read His Word. Once I was in His Word, I began to really know Him and my desire to know Him more grew and grew.
I also surrounded myself with people who were just as excited to know God as I was. I would have been at my church 24/7 if I could have. I cannot emphasis enough the importance of surrounding yourself with a supportive community. If you don’t have this, contact me privately. I would be more than happy to be your community. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Then, I began putting things in action. I began to apply what I was learning in the scriptures. That sounds like obedience you say? Why, yes, I started to walk in obedience (I just love when I can throw that in there).
There is no doubt in my mind that having a relationship with God is vital to making Him the center of your life, but it is not the only thing.
The relationship makes you want to live your life for Christ, Holy Spirit gives you the ability to live your life for Christ.
Once I established a relationship with God, it became easier and easier to want more. I couldn’t get enough and God became an essential part of me. However, I was still missing a key element, Holy Spirit.
I wish I had more time to go into that today, but I feel like I would do Him a great injustice by trying to cram Him in, so I will continue on with Holy Spirit tomorrow. [Yes, I realize I don't usaully post on Fridays, but that is the beauty of not working anymore, I have lots more time to write. I also have more time to finally figure all the ins and outs of word press and finally know how to do block quotes and add colors. lol. It only took me a year and a half.]
Be blessed and be a blessing,