Motivation for Living a Christ Centered Life

31 Oct

One of the more difficult things about living a radically Christ centered life is that so many people don’t want you to.

You push Christ to the front in any area of life and you are going to face tremendous pressure to stop.

That is true theologically, in terms of what you believe. You can talk about God’s love all day long and nobody is going to get upset but you begin to talk about the exclusivity of Jesus Christ and you are going to find people starting to get pretty heated.

It is also true practically, in terms of the way you live your life. It is not controversial or radical to be a church going person but you start living as if the purpose of your life is primarily to magnify Jesus in absolutely everything you do, and I am talking about living like that, not simply saying that, you start acting as if your commitment to Jesus Christ is more important than your commitment to anyone else, even people close to you like your family, like you are supposed to love Jesus so much that your attitude towards everything else, your job, your financial future, even your own life, basically looks like hate, and you are going to find a whole lot of people disagreeing with you – not just flat out secular people, I am talking, NICE RELIGIOUS PEOPLE disagreeing with you.

I could prove that to you historically. Take what happened in Colossian church and actually pretty much every other church Paul started. Over and over, almost immediately after the gospel is preached there are these cultural influences that start creeping into the churches, minimizing the supremacy of Jesus Christ. It is usually not no, no Christ, it is usually, yes Christ, but not just Christ, Christ and.

And you know we all could prove it from personal experience. You know as well as I do that you start to apply the lordship of Jesus Christ to the way you actually live your life that is not going to be all that popular because Jesus’ priorities for your life tend to be a whole lot different than the people’s priorities all around you.

It is not like you when you hear the gospel and put your faith in Christ you are magically transported to this world where there are no distractions and pressure to center your life on other things.

Instead even after you hear the gospel and put your faith in Christ you come under intense pressure to stop focusing so much of your life on Him.

Pressure from within.

And pressure from without.

Pressure that is obvious.

Pressure that is not.

You push Christ to the front in any area of your life, what you believe, the way you act, and you are going to face tremendous pressure to stop.

Which is why I guess the Bible does not simply tell us to center our lives in Christ and warn us to watch out that no one takes us captive through philosophy and empty deception, it also tells us why.

Take Colossians 2:8 and 9.

“See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. FOR…”

When it comes to Bible study connecting words like that are really important. This one tells us that what we are about to read is supposed to give us a reason to watch out that we are not taken captive, and the first reason Paul tells us we need to work hard at keeping Christ at the center of our lives is because of who He is. He deserves it.

I know that sometimes non-Christians think are uptight about Jesus and they are like why can’t you loosen up and give Buddha a break or something like that.

The reason we can’t loosen up is because we have caught sight of who Jesus actually is.

He is absolutely unique.

To quote Paul,

“…In Him…”

that is in Christ

“the whole fullness of deity dwells in bodily form…”

While Paul’s already said some pretty amazing things about Jesus throughout Colossians, this verse is like the climax.

It might sound a little familiar because you might remember back in chapter 1 he already said “For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Christ…” which is awesome but a little vague and someone might be tempted to ask, “the fullness of what dwells in Christ;” which is probably why here in chapter 2:9 Paul adds, “the whole fullness of deity dwells in Jesus Christ.”

Which you know is huge.

There are actually two different Greek words Paul could have chosen for deity.

The first refers to God-likeness; the second describes the actual essence of God.

The first term is a little fuzzy. The second is very specific. Paul chose the second to say most decisively Jesus is not simply like God; Jesus was and is God.

If you look at the verse, it actually seems like he is piling word upon word to make this very point. Like, he doesn’t just say deity resides in Jesus, he writes, the “whole fullness of deity” resides in Jesus Christ.

The word for fullness denotes completeness and here it is referring to the one God who completely pervades the entire universe. And he doesn’t just say the fullness of deity resides in Christ. No he says the whole fullness of deity dwells in Christ.

Paul is saying in as clear a way as is absolutely possible “the sum total of the fullness of the Godhead, no part, no aspect excepted” dwells in the person of Christ.

To put it as simply as we can – we can’t start minimizing Jesus because we have seen He was and is fully God.

What’s more, if you notice Paul takes it a step further.

He’s unique because He’s fully man.

Note what he adds at the end of verse 9, “the whole fullness of deity dwells in Christ in bodily form.”

The word “dwells” is in the present tense.

It is not that the fullness of deity dwelt in Christ in bodily form, but that it dwells in Christ in bodily form.

Jesus is God. He has always been and always will be fully God. But Jesus hasn’t always been fully man. He took on human nature at point in time, we call that the Incarnation. And here’s the amazing thing, he will be fully man forever.

“Jesus did not temporarily become man, but…his divine nature was permanently united to his human nature and he lives forever not just as the eternal Son of God, the second person of the Trinity, but also as Jesus, the man who was born of Mary, and as Christ, the Messiah and Savior of His people. Jesus will remain fully God and fully man, yet one person, forever.”

We cannot take our eyes off of Jesus Christ because we have been stunned by just how unique he really is.

He is fully God and fully man. And as the God-man, Paul adds at the end of verse 10, He has a special pre-eminence. He is the “head over all rule and authority…”

Which is a statement that honestly is probably is a little jab at some of the ideas that were floating Colossae.

The people in Colossae seemed to place a great emphasis on the importance of angels.

You can see down in verse 18 of chapter 2 that Paul talks about people “delighting in self-abasement and the worship of angels…”

Basically giving angels a place right beside Christ.

One of the ways people described the angels were as “rulers and authorities…”

According to their philosophy, these angels were powerful beings who ruled over the world and exercised divine authority. They taught that Jesus was just one manifestation of God and that these angels, or rulers and authorities were other manifestations of God as well – and thus equally important.

But Paul puts that idea to rest by simply saying look Christ is “head over all rule and authority…” He is the head, the Supreme One. All these rulers and authorities that you give so much credence to, bow down to Him. They are His servants.

Which has tremendous implications.

You deny Christ and you are not merely denying another man – you are denying God.

And if you deny God, the God who created this universe, the God who sustains this universe, the God before whom you’ll have to stand before one day when He judges this Universe, that’s an absolute tragedy.

It’s a tragedy because you are basing your life on a lie. It’s a tragedy because you are involved in something inherently futile. It’s a tragedy because you are rebelling against the One who created you. It’s a tragedy because you are missing the point of why you were actually created.

When we have got people around us who are like loosen up on Jesus and we are feeling the pressure and we are getting tired and we need motivation, to keep on making a big deal out of Jesus, we need to come back and focus on who Jesus actually is.

I think honestly one of the reasons it is difficult for many of us to live a Christ dominated life and why we are so easily taken captive by the cultural influences around us is because we don’t spend a whole lot of time just beholding Jesus. Thinking about his person and delighting in his person and worshiping and loving Him.

I don’t know, but a soldier away at war who is going to stay more faithful to his wife? The guy who is thinking about himself most of the time and what he has got to do and how he can move forward and all that, or the guy who spends time looking at his wife’s picture, reading his wife’s letters, talking to his wife, thinking about his wife, stirring up the affections in his heart towards his wife?

You can’t really expect to live much of a Christ-centered life if there’s not regular times where you sit your soul down and prayerfully bring your soul to Christ to behold him and gaze upon Him and think and mediate on who He is and what that means for you. You start to do that though, to look at who Christ is on a continual basis and you are going to find great motivation to watch out that you are not taken captive by the cultural influences around that try to trick you into minimizing Him.

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