Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Close and Centered

Last Sunday, Chad did a little review of last week’s message; particularly about the four specific stages of spiritual growth: exploring, growing, close, and center. He briefly talked about a few key points before moving on with the new “parable of the sower” message series.

The whole goal of the spiritual growth stages is to end up at the last stage of being “Christ” centered rather than being at the opposite side of the spectrum which is “self” centered. The “self” side is empty, purposeless, and meaningless. Even if you have “everything“, you’ll still feel miserable and empty because when things are all about “you,” you really don’t have much of anything! Having no sense of purpose is a nagging void that‘s hard to live with. However, if you are purpose driven, you will work continually towards fulfilling that destiny to which Christ called you; and in that, you will find true meaning and worth in your life.

So, what does it take to get “centered”? It takes effort, energy, and commitment; and of course, sacrifice. There is hardly an instance in which something worth attaining doesn’t require those things. So, if you think you are going to achieve any goal without those elements, you’ll just stay stationary and unfruitful. Idleness and just hoping and wishing for something to happen (or putting it off as a “someday” goal) isn’t going to achieve a thing. You’ll just keep wasting time until you’re living in an endless “someday” seeing all the “yesterdays” that you wasted that could have been spent bringing you closer to goal. And, when it comes to one’s relationship with Christ, it should never be a “someday” goal because “someday” may never come! We don’t know how long we have!

What’s the first step then? Surrender!! “Die to self” each and every day as you make it all about HIM and less about YOU. It’s all about submission and servanthood; where your number one concern is to serve God and serve others and seeing to it that God’s Name is the name that is glorified - not your own.

Living a life of daily surrender takes work. It truly is a lifestyle. You have to give each day that God gives you back to Him. Galatians 2:20 describes it well: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

Hard to take in? Is it “too hard” or beyond your “comfort zone”? Well, think about the alternative. Do you really think that this life is all there is and that making yourself happy by chasing worldly dreams is the key to happiness? Is that the secret to joy? If it is, I guess Hollywood is paradise isn’t it? The celebrities out there have every comfort you can imagine. Their lives are just peachy right? I’m sure Britney could tell you that!! Why do you think she is miserable despite all she has? Why do you think that even motherhood couldn’t fix the void in her heart? She has tried everything to fill it, but she has no peace. Why? Because her whole existence is about chasing after her own desires and happiness rather than God’s will for her life. And even after all her pursuits, she STILL isn’t happy!! She only spirals further out of control into misery!! Until she realizes that Jesus is the only one that can fill her void, she will continue down a path of self-destruction.

One of the best things I heard Chad say in reference to all of this was not to just “follow at a distance.” GET CLOSE AND CENTERED! Don’t sit this one out or shuffle slowly behind. Take an active role in your life and in your faith. You only have a set amount of years to be alive; the rest is spent in eternity (and WHERE in eternity depends on how you live your short lifespan NOW!). Eternity is FOREVER. Make your choice wisely now, because when you die, that’s when it REALLY begins!

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