I'm very hesitant to try to share about my trip to Uganda. Not because I don't want to, but because it will be hard. I feel like I sometimes feel when being faced with a big school project. I know it'll take a lot of mental sweat, that it probably won't come out as good as I'd like it to, and that starting it is like wading into a murky swamp of details. But I know that on the other side of this particular swamp, there's gold, because some of what I learned in Uganda is worth just that. And for the Christian, spiritual gold is meant to be shared.
For now, though, I suppose I'll ramble. I feel compelled to write something for the encouragement of anyone who reads this regularly or semi-regularly, and even though I sometimes feel like I have to dig something up and force it out of myself, I know that God is so big and Scripture is so rich and exhortation is so vital and godliness is so hard to come by that I just need to make myself do it. This is a medium that I've chosen by which to try to encourage others, and I want to be faithful to exercise it until the Lord makes it clear that it's time to direct my energies in other directions. So it will be good to try. I hope you don't mind the rawness of all this. I don't know how to do it any other way.
Because of an upcoming preaching opportunity, I've been thinking a lot about God-centeredness over the past couple days. This is basically the same as Christ-centeredness, although not exactly. But that small distinction isn't the point (either of what I've been thinking about or what I'm trying to say here).
I minister at The Master's College and I'm a part of it, so that's who I'll speak to. My heartbeat for all of you who attend TMC is that you would be God-centered. This is what Scripture calls us to, this is why we exist, this is how we glorify God, this is the greatest gift that we can give to one another and to the world, and this is what I long for in my own life. I sincerely believe that true, overarching, saturating God-centeredness is desperately rare. It demands so much grace, so much passion, so much concentration, so much self-denial, so much devotion, and so much sober-mindedness that it's virtually impossible to comprehend either the cost or the value of pursuing it.
I want so badly for us to see everything as it relates to God and His purposes in the world. I long for us to be a generation that lives radically (or, when Scripture is allowed to be the standard, normally). I am fully convinced that God's jealous desire for our hearts is that they be fully devoted to Him, and that that devotion be evident in the way we study and date and listen to chapel messages and talk about cafeteria food and look at ourselves in the mirror in the morning; in the way we talk about others and spend our leisure time and read assigned books and write papers and talk to our parents and view creation; in the way we drive and sleep and shop and blog and surf the internet and choose what online news articles to click on and read.
I want our nothing-held-back devotion (if we really have that kind of devotion) to be obvious in every last detail of life: how we dress when we go to the beach, what kind of movies we'll watch, what kind of jokes we'll laugh at, what kind of future plans we'll dream about, how often we'll go to Starbuck's or the mall or the movie theater, who our heroes will be (not our stated heroes but the heroes of our hearts), and what we'll talk about when we can talk about anything we want. I just want us to be God-centered.
It's frustrating to try to explain God-centeredness. It's just so big. It's all-encompassing. If you're a believer, no detail of your life can escape being bound up in Jesus Christ. You are not your own. You were bought with a price. This means that you don't get to do anything you want to do. You can only do what He wants you to do. And that's the most liberating reality in the world, because He is kind enough to mold your desires into His.
I guess I just see so many people for whom Christ is not everything. He's something, or He's sometimes. But that's not enough. He stayed on the cross two thousand years ago so that He might be everything, all the time. This is what it means to be a Christian. Your identity is no longer male or female, white or black, native or foreigner, bulky or thin, intelligent or slow, jock or nerd, social or awkward, trendy or dull, homeschooler or public-schooler, in or outcast, CopperHill'er or PBC'er, Bible major or Home Ec major, popular or unknown, or up-front or behind-the-scenes. That stuff just doesn't matter. Yes, we say it, but who among us really lives like it really doesn't matter?
Jesus Christ matters. Our mighty God and gentle Father matters. The sweetness of the indwelling Holy Spirit matters. And the advancement of God's kingdom through the upbuilding of the church and the salvation of sinners matters. That's it. Nothing else.
Oh, for a heavenly-minded, God-centered, Gospel-living, Christ-exalting, Word-soaked, sinner-loving, self-sacrificing generation that joyfully loses its ability to think about or desire or pursue anything but what advances the cause of Jesus Christ.
I don't know how else to communicate this, but I have to try. This is my plea, and this is my prayer.