If people were asked what their lives are focused on we could expect a variety of answers. Moreover, the answers received might vary according to the age of the individual. A high school student might say they are focused on their friends, someone in college might say their studies, someone new to the job market may be focused on their career. A young married person might say their spouse. Later in life it’s the kids. People my age often say it’s the grandkids, or golf, or fishing. But, how many would say they are focused on living a Christ-centered life?
What do we even mean when we say we are Christ-centered? Does it take away from all these other things we find important to us? Or, does it enhance every aspect of how we live our lives. Can being Christ-centered actually make us better friends, better students, more understanding spouses and parents? More caring grandparents? The object of this study is not to answer these questions specifically, however as we study what it means to be Christ-centered think about how focusing on Christ enables us to improve how we live our lives, including how we connect with others and how we go about prioritizing life to get the most out of it, and to give the most to those around us. Additionally, think not only about what it means to be focused on the Lord, but about how we become Christ-centered.
In I Chronicles it is written, “Glory in His holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice! Seek the LORD and His strength; seek His presence continually” (I Chronicles 16:10-11). The first step in becoming centered on the Lord in our lives is simply to seek Him. Study His word, Speak to Him in prayer. Ask for wisdom and understanding in His ways. As Solomon wrote of God’s wisdom, “I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me” (Proverbs 8:17; see also Psalm 63:1). The Lord said that those who seek will find what they are looking for (Luke 11:9). Those who search for the truth with an open and honest heart will not be left disappointed when they turn to the Lord, as the Psalmist said, “I sought the LORD, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears (Psalm 34:4).
As Christians we can put our hope in the Lord and His word (Psalm 130:5). Moreover, if we store His word in or hearts it will guide our steps and lead us away from sin (Psalm 119:11). Another thing we find ourselves doing as we become more spiritually aligned with Christ is sharing the word with others. As Paul wrote, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom” (Colossians 3:16). As we study and meditate on His word not only will we be submitting to God’s command (II Timothy 2:15; I Chronicles 16:12, 15; Psalm 104:34), we will be edified, our actions will be pleasing to God, and our familiarity with scripture will increase making us more competent and confident in sharing the word with others. Some of us may not have the best memories and find it difficult to memorize a large number of passages, nonetheless we can do our best, and we will find that while we may not know some scriptures verbatim familiarity with the Bible will enable us to find them more rapidly during a study period, or even when we are searching for a subject on our own.
Another thing we must do to be more in line with Christ’s teachings is to develop a strong prayer life. We should pray to avoid and overcome temptation (Matthew 26:41), for the furtherance of God’s work (Matthew 9:38), for our enemies (Luke 6:28), for others (Colossians 1:9), and for strength and courage (Luke 18:1). There are many things that could be added to this list, but the last I will mention is the need to go to our Father with thanksgiving. In I Chronicles 16:8 we read, “Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon His name; make known His deeds among the peoples!” We have much to be thankful for in bad weather and fair, so even as we pray for God’s assistance we should thank Him for all things (Ephesians 5:20).
Besides prayer another way to show our thanks and to praise the Lord for all He does and all that He is (I Chronicles 16:9), presents itself through the avenue of song. The Psalmist wrote, “It is good to give thanks to the LORD, to sing praises to Your name, O Most High, to declare Your steadfast love in the morning, and Your faithfulness by night, to the music of the lute and the harp, to the melody of the lyre. For you, O LORD, have made me glad by Your work; at the works of Your hands I sing for joy” (Psalm 92:1-4; Psalm 104:33). Moreover, we can address one another, as brothers and sisters in Christ, even as we make melody to the Lord (Ephesians 5:19-20), with thanksgiving in our hearts (Colossians 3:16; Psalm 96:1-2).
Perhaps one of the ways we can offer the most thanks to God is by being obedient servants. As Paul wrote, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Colossians 3:17). As Christians it is important for us to know and follow the Lord’s commandments toward one another in brotherly love (John 15:12-13), and in every other way, as Paul instructed the Hebrews, “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you” (Hebrews 13:16-17; see also Psalm 119:10). In our obedience to God we are also responsible to one anothers needs and therefore should be willing to put others ahead of ourselves as we submit to God (Ephesians 5:21). We are to delight in one anothers welfare even as God delights in ours, as king David proclaimed, “Let those who delight in my righteousness shout for joy and be glad and say evermore, ‘Great is the LORD, who delights in the welfare of his servant!’ Then my tongue shall tell of your righteousness and of your praise all the day long” (Psalm 35:27-28).
Earlier I mentioned praising God in prayer. Now would be a good time to mention praising God to those all around us. In Psalm 96:3 it is recorded, “Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous works among all the peoples!” As Asaph also wrote, “My mouth is filled with your praise, and with your glory all the day” (Psalm 71:8). We can never praise God too much! From the rising of the sun, to its setting we should praise the Lord (Psalm 113:1-3), for all the wonders He has created, for the life He has given to each of us, and for the salvation He has provided through His Son (Hebrews 13:15). As David, we too should proclaim, “His praise shall continually be in my mouth” (Psalm 34:1).
Our praise for the Lord should be not only for all His has done, but for all He has promised, and His eternal trustworthiness. We find these words in Isaiah, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in You. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock” (Isaiah 26:3-4). God is our rock in life and the author of our salvation (Psalm 62:7-8). He sent His Son to die for all those who are willing to turn to Him in obedience. It is remarkable to consider that the Son of God came to earth and took human form and suffered the humiliation of the cross in order to redeem us. Considering that, we will look at the final action on my list to be more Christ-like.
Jesus said, “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of Me and of My words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when He comes in His glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels” (John 9:23-26). To be more Christ-like we must be willing to sacrifice as He sacrificed. To put Him above all things in our lives even if it means following Him to death. The ultimate way to follow Christ is to be willing to give all to Him as He gave all to us. Few of us will ever be called upon to give our lives, but are we willing to stand up for Him, even to that point?
Hi! I'm Roland. I began writing after retiring from the Navy in 2015. I believe that we each should strive to learn from one another, by sharing our thoughts and ideas. As a writer my goal is to help other seekers of truth to find and grow in Christ.