Jesus, Be the Center

By: Scott Armstrong

Bible Reading: 1 Corinthians 2:2 NIV

“For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.”

The church in Corinth was a disaster. Paul had invested his time and all his efforts in starting that church, and now they were forgetting much of what he had taught. Lawsuits, divisions, immorality, idolatry, and more are the main themes of the letter that the apostle writes! He frankly addresses these issues, but first tries to remind the congregation of its foundation: Jesus and his sacrifice. It’s as if he is telling them, “Jesus should be the center of our lives. And when he is, everything else will fall into place.”

¿Should Christ occupy “first place” in our lives?

We have all heard it in a sermon or Bible study: Jesus must be first place in our lives. The idea is that there are many important things that take up our time (family, hobbies, studies, church, etc.), but that Christ should always be at the top of the list. Sounds obvious, right? Surely none of us would say that the Lord must be in second, or third, or even tenth place!

The problem is that God, although he doesn’t want to be in second (or nineteenth) place, doesn’t want to be in first place either. Let me share an example.

What if I tell my wife that, among all women, she is first place in my life? In fact, I say, I’m going to spend 29 days out of every month with her because she’s worth so much to me. It’s just that I’ll dedicate one day at the end of each month to another woman. That’s a mere 1/30 of my time and heart that I give to the other lady. My wife will be happy, right? Of course not! When we stood at the altar on our wedding day and exchanged vows before God and many witnesses, that was a covenant between us. Emily dedicated herself completely to one man, and I committed myself 100% to one woman. We didn’t

get married because we wanted to occupy “first place” among many other priorities and conjugal options. We got married to tell the whole world that only she (or only he) was and would continue to be the love of our life!

A wheel is better than a list.

The metaphor that can help us the most is not a list of priorities, but a wheel. The wheel of a bicycle, for example, has a hub in the center. Many spokes come out of the hub and extend to the edge of the wheel. The hub serves as the base for all the spokes to revolve around. If the hub in the center doesn’t rotate, neither do the spokes.

A true Christian does not waste his/her time. Everything we do should matter; even seemingly “less important things” like hobbies or rest can and should be offered to God as worship in our lives. Thus, all the spokes on our wheel are good! When we prioritize our whole life on a list, that can seem helpful for a time. But the list gets called into question easily. Does putting family higher on the list mean serving in church (something that sometimes takes time away from family) isn’t worthwhile? Not at all. Or does saying that my studies are more important than my job mean that, on a very busy day, I can choose not to come to the office in order to finish my homework? I do not recommend it!

When Jesus is the center, all aspects of our lives are ordered in the light of his will. He helps us manage time and dedicate ourselves to each area with excellence. Like Paul, do not put Christ in “first place.”

Give him your life completely so that he is the center of everything you are and do.

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