I want you to think of something or someone that is important to you. Now, I am not necessarily looking for the “Jesus” answer, we will get to that in a minute. Do you have it in mind? Great. Now, how do you know it’s important to you? Better yet, how would I know that it is important to you? For example, I love to cook. I like being in the kitchen, I like trying new recipes and coming up with my own. I love the time that I cook because it is something I enjoy and, according to my family, am pretty good at. You know that I love to cook simply by looking at the tools that I use in the kitchen. I buy my knives individually and they are high quality, lifetime guarenteed knives (believe me- I paid enough for them). For someone that cooking isn’t that important, they are not going to throw a ton of money for cooking utensils and knives. The same can be true for anything that is important to you. I have a very good artrist in my youth ministry that does remarkable work. He too uses qualities tools to accomplish his art. Why is this? Well, the answer is quite simple: we put them at the center of our attention.
So, I guess what I am really wondering is- what is at the center of your spiritual life? When you get down to the nuts and bolts of your spiritual development, who is at the center? The automatic and easy answer is God, I mean that’s what I want you to say right? Sure it is, but is it true? You see I can tell you that I am a follower of Christ. I can post bible passages on Facebook and Twitter, take pictures with my youth and put it on Instagram, I can tell you over a blog that I am a believer; but until you see me live my faith, until my faith and my conviction have feet and move, I am merely words. Our actions far outweigh our words with not only our friends and those around us, but they speak volumes to our Lord.
The opening line to the praise and worship song The Heart of Wroship goes:
When the music fades
and all has slipped away
and I simply come
I love this, because it gets to just what the title says, the heart of wroship. When the music fades, when the fellowships are gone, when there is no Sunday pot luck dinner, what is our heart for worship? In student ministry- if we take away the trips, the music, the games- what is your teen’s heart for worship? All of these ministries, all of these things- the outings, the fellowships, the block parties- they are great tools for God’s Kingdom; but they are not the nucleus of why we worship. If we stripped it all away and it was only you, God’s Word, and the Lord- would it be enough? Would you actively seek Him? Would you still go to church?Now, I’m not saying that all of these other things are not important- they are; but they are tools to accomplish the ultimate goal and that is to worship our Lord and Savior. We must also see ourselves as one of these tools that Christ can use as we stop competing for the center spot of our lives and place Christ where He rightfully belongs.
When I was younger, my dad would mark on the wall my growth progress. I would always want to measure myself to see how much I had grown. Likewise, when we measure our spiritual growth, do we see the same progress? When we place Christ as the center of our spiritual development, we begin to grow in every aspect of our life. There are still difficult times, but the choices that we make during those times seem easier to make, almost like no brainers. It is when we do not place Him at the center that we encounter the problems that we so often blame on God. When we place God on the outside of our lives and we only allow Him to be the God over part of our lives, we find oursleves trying to fulfil our own will and we often, though inadvertantly, engage in self worship.
In the end, the music can not be our God. The trips and the fellowships and the outings can not be out God. The chruch work and committees can not be our God. All of these are vital tools of the ministry, but the ultimate nucleus of our spiritual growth is our Lord. So, again I ask- what is important to you? Would I know God is important to you? Would I see it in your quiet time, in your prayer life, or in your work with the church? After all, we are called to make disciples and how can we explain to someone that Christ wants to be the center of their life if He isn’t even the center of ours?
In Christ Alone,
Rev. Bro. Coach