' "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." At once they left their nets and followed him'
Our hearts are fairly corrupt. Even though I am a pastor and a born again Christian(TM) when I am completely honest with myself, I am not really that good of a person. I lose my patience way too easily. I am lazy. I am self-centered. Especially that. I am especially self-centered.
So many times I have to reevaluate why I do what do and come to the realization that it was often deeply rooted in self. Self-centered desires, pursuits, behaviors, mindset, prayers, etc.
In modern Christianity we like to throw about the phrase, "Christ Centered Life". There is nothing necessarily "wrong" with that concept. To desire to have your innermost self shaped and influenced by the presence of the Living God dwelling within us is a pretty sweet thing to want, and, experience.
The problem is we are missing something that scripture teaches very clearly. We are to be followers. Not centerers(my own word obviously)
Jesus doesn't call to these fellas and say, "Hey, you guys. Why don't you keep on fishing, but do it while really thinking about me a lot? Also, go get a WWJD bracelet so you can remember to be "Me" centered while you do what it is you are going to do."
When we turn our relationship with Jesus into this self-centered belief system it inevitably will be influence by....well...ourselves. So we begin to "add" Jesus to what it is we are doing. Our prayers even reflect that attitude.
- "God, please meet with us here today"
- "God, help me in this situation"
- "God, can you go do something for "that" person?"
- "Jesus, come live in my heart"
Do you know what type of prayers I rarely hear? From me or anyone else? Prayers about following. Following is hard. It requires actually dropping what it is YOU are doing and going to where He is. These first disciples had to be willing for the sake of Christ to give up everything they thought they knew about life and run off into the unknown.
Following Christ means to stop trying to see ahead of today, and trusting in His perfect love to lead you where it is you need to be. Shallow Christ Centeredness is about staying right where we are, in the place we feel comfortable and in control, and expecting Jesus to just adapt to our comfort level.
The picture that Jesus paints in the Gospels about the Kingdom of Heaven is all about people dropping everything that they have to pursue what they see in God's promise. They sell their fields, they clean every nook and cranny looking for coins, they drop their self-centeredness for Christ pursuit.
What if our prayers looked more like this?
- "God, please lead me to where you are"
- "God, I am in a difficult place right now, show me your plan"
- "God, my friend/spouse/relative is hurting right now, what can I do to be Your hands and feet for them today?"
- "Jesus, teach me to run hard after you, and to never stop"
We aren't called to be Christ centered. We are called to be Christ followers. The early church wasn't called "Christian". They were called "The Way". Because it illustrated that they were going somewhere, they were pursuing a radical new way of living. No longer living out of ego and self with a smattering of religiousity, but, living pursuing the living God, His Son, and His eternal kingdom.
Stop being "centered". Start following.
Like me, you might look like this when you get started. But don't stop running!