The God-centered life

                                The Self-Centered Life Fails without 

                                  the Remotest Chance of Success.

                                 The God-Centered Life Succeeds

                            without the Remotest Chance of Failure

                                                                        Ray Ortland

     G. Campbell Morgan, in The Westminster Pulpit defines the self-centered life as follows.  “It is the life irreligious, the life that has no vision of God, that never waits for His voice, has no sense of the eternal, no commerce with the spiritual, no traffic with the unseen, the life which Peter describes when he says ‘seeing only the things that are near.’”  Baker Book House 1954-55, Volume III, Page 242.  It is a life which equally may be condemned by the culture in which one lives, or it may be a life that is highly commended.  It may accomplish much by the world’s standards, but when examined in the light of eternity it will be of no consequence.  The Lord states to us in John 15:5  “I am the vine; you are the branches.  If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”  The life lived without dependence upon His person and His power achieves nothing of lasting value.  Our Lord relates to us that in living the self-centered life, we are losing a glorious life of fulfillment and joy which stretches into eternity, a full, abundant, rich meaningful life.  These words are recorded in John 12:25.  “The man who loves his life will lose it while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”  The self-centered life fails, then, with not the remotest chance of success.  

     The God-centered life, on the other hand, succeeds without the remotest chance of failure.  This life is characterized by surrender to the Person of Christ.  It is described by G. Campbell Morgan in the following manner.  “‘I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.‘  I deliberately adopt the marginal reading there.  That is a wonderful verse.  Study its psychology.  ‘I beseech you.….to present your bodies.‘  Your body is not you.  The apostle is not dealing with the body, he is dealing with the essential man.  Or in the Corinthian epistle, ‘your body is a temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you…..glorify God therefore in your body.‘  You glorify God in it:  you are not it:  you indwell it.  The body is the tabernacle, the tent of the man, not the man.  I pray you mark the significance of this, and see the reason for laying emphasis on these two passages.  What is surrender?  To give myself over to the Lord.  That is, all my spiritual life.  How am I to do that, or demonstrate that I have done it?  By presenting the body in which I dwell.  That is spiritual worship.  We thought spiritual worship consisted in singing hymns and praying.   All these things are spiritual, or should be, but spiritual worship is the body dedicated to the Lord.  

                                     Take my hands, and let them move                                                                               

                                          At the impulse of Thy love;   

                                         Take my feet and let them be 

                                         Swift and beautiful for Thee.

That is surrender.  That is not merely that my hands and feet are at His disposal, but that I am His, and that I indicate to Him and to the world my abandonment by putting the members of my body at His disposal and refusing to allow brain, or heart, or head, or hands, or feet to act save under His command and in His sacred service.  The intellect, emotion, will surrendered, and consequently the whole body acting under His direction.”

The Westminster Pulpit, Baker Book House, Volume III, pages 313-314.

     Having abandoned oneself to the Lord, then, the recognition offered by the world has no meaning.  The God-centered life finds its confidence in the assurance of                    I Corinthians 15:58.  “Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm.  Let nothing move you.  Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”  No effort or expenditure of time or resources is wasted.  All is remembered and rewarded, “even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones.” (Matthew 10:42)  The God-centered life is one which “will keep it for eternal life.” (John 12:25)  It succeeds without the remotest chance of failure.  

     In light of the above, then, the most pressing question to be asked is “How can I change the center of my life?”  This question is but to repeat in a different form the one asked of the Lord in John 6:28.  “What must we do to do the works God requires?”  Jesus’ answer to them, and likewise in answer to the question we pose is the same.  “The work of God is this:  to believe in the one he has sent.” (John 6:29)  This belief is described more fully by G. Campbell Morgan as follows.  “The faith that saves, faith in the initial stages of the Christian life and all the process of discipline of Christian life is not conviction merely; but yielding to, obedience to, abandonment to conviction.  Where conviction is answered by active obedience, there you have faith that brings into living contact with all the resources of power.  The faith that saves is not faith about, but faith into.  Belief is more than belief about.  Belief about is conviction.  Belief into is conviction compelling activity.  Belief about is conviction of the light.  Belief into is walking in the light.”  The Westminster Pulpit, Baker Book House, Volume III, Page 308. 

     God has come and lived among us (John 1:14) and has now by His death and Resurrection, made available to us His Life that we may live moment by moment in fellowship with Him.  It is by trusting Him fully to manifest His presence, His power and His purpose in and through your life that you may rest assured that your life is         God-centered.  He desires that you know this and assures you that such a life has not the remotest chance of failure.  

In Christ, Richard Spann 

     

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