Last weekend I was at the Men’s Summit at Kent City Baptist Church. It was a great event, very powerful, with some amazing times of worship and preaching. One of the songs that we sang, called “Center”, was new to me, and as I learned it I couldn’t help but fall in love with the simple, honest lyrics:
Oh, Christ, be the center of our lives,
Be the place we fix our eyes,
Be the center of our lives.
And You’re the center of the universe,
Everything was made in You, Jesus.
Breath of every living thing,
Everyone was made for You.
You hold everything together,
You hold everything together.
We lift our eyes to heaven,
And we wrap our lives around Your life,
We lift our eyes to heaven, to You.
And turn your eyes upon Jesus,
And look full in His wonderful face.
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
So often when we hear a song like this, or read a verse, or listen to a sermon, we renew our passion for having Christ at the center of all we say, think and do. But slowly, He begins to slide back to the fringes of our lives. Instead of spending time in His Word first thing in the morning, we get in a few verses before bed at night – if at all. Instead of being consistently in prayer, we pray at meals, maybe at bedtime, and even then only a few words because we feel we should. We spend our time doing useless things, and our passion and our focus shift off of the God of the Universe and onto ourselves, and we slowly become lukewarm. It’s a shame, and it is killing us.
Perhaps the best way I’ve heard it explained is when Mark Lindsley spoke about it at the summit. As a pilot, he used an illustration from the world of aviation. For a pilot flying in the clouds, your instruments are the only way for you to know how high you are, how fast you’re going, which direction you’re headed, and how to get where you’re going. It is absolutely vital that a pilot continually scan his instruments so that he can spot any errors in his course that need correcting. But out of all of these instruments, there is one that is more important than all the others: the attitude indicator. Whenever a pilot sees that his altitude is too low, or that he’s a couple of degrees off in his heading, he must bring his focus back to the attitude indicator before he makes the adjustment. If he just keeps his attention on the instrument that revealed the problem, he will begin to go wildly off course in other areas while he tries to fix it. The attitude indicator has to be the center of his focus, the one instrument he returns to for direction as he flies the plane safely to its destination.
I think a lot of the time we have a similar problem. We want to find what’s wrong with our lives and fix it, and we know where to look for the warning signs. But when we see something wrong, instead of bringing it and surrendering it to Christ, keeping our relationship with Him central to our lives, we continue to focus on the problem. We try and try to adjust our course in our own strength, but all the while we are spiraling out of control because Christ has fallen to the sidelines. Instead, we should keep our relationship with God the top priority in our lives. Only He can keep us on the narrow path, not turning to the right or the left. Every day, as we cycle through our “instrument panel”, making decisions and adjustments, our eyes should always be coming back to Jesus for the answers we need. He holds everything together, and when you center your life under His control, He will guide you safely home. Even though you can’t always see where you’re going, if you’re willing to trust that Jesus knows what He’s doing, you’ll make it out alright. And when you finally reach your destination, He’ll be waiting on the landing strip with a smile on His face and open arms, and you’ll know you’re home.