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Thread: What does it mean to be God centered?

  1. #1
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    What does it mean to be God centered?

    Greetings fellow saints. I am about to hit the road to North Carolina but before I go, I want to ask a question for discussion.

    What does it mean to you to be God centered? (I.e. What does it mean for a church to be God centered?)

    I am more interested in how this applies to one's personal walk and to one's church.

    If I were to throw out two quick passages, I would throw out Phillipians 2 and Galatians "I am crucified with Christ..." and Ephesians where Paul wrote "I want to know Him and the fellowship of his sufferings..."

    I am looking forward to some discussion.

    Blessings,

    Mark
    Matt 9:13
    13 "But go and learn what this means: ' I DESIRE COMPASSION,AND NOT SACRIFICE,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
    NASU

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Mark View Post
    Greetings fellow saints. I am about to hit the road to North Carolina but before I go, I want to ask a question for discussion.

    What does it mean to you to be God centered? (I.e. What does it mean for a church to be God centered?)

    I am more interested in how this applies to one's personal walk and to one's church.

    If I were to throw out two quick passages, I would throw out Phillipians 2 and Galatians "I am crucified with Christ..." and Ephesians where Paul wrote "I want to know Him and the fellowship of his sufferings..."

    I am looking forward to some discussion.

    Blessings,

    Mark
    I guess the answers are going to be subjective. So I give you my personal idea of what "God centered" means. In my mind, the phrase "God centered" takes its significance from being in contrast with "man centered". Some churches keep the main focus on humanitarian efforts to feed the poor, and humanistic efforts at community building. Sermons from the pulpit tend to be homiletic and inspirational rather than reading what the Bible says and making comment on it.

    That's my short answer.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Mark View Post
    what does it mean to be God centered?
    Greetings fellow saints. ...

    What does it mean to you to be God centered?

    I am ... interested in how this applies to one's personal walk and to one's church.

    ... I ... throw out Phillipians 2 and Galatians "I am crucified with Christ..." and Ephesians where Paul wrote "I want to know Him and the fellowship of his sufferings..."

    Blessings,
    Mark
    Here are those passages Br. Mark refers to, I think:
    (1) Galatians 2:20
    "I am crucified with Christ: neverthless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." (Galatians 2:20)

    (2) Phil. 3:7-14:
    "But whatever things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yes doubtless! I count all things as only a loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

    So that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.

    ... Brethren, I count not myself to have
    " [known him fully] "but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
    " (Phil. 3:7-14, vv. 10 & 14 highlighted
    (3) Phil 2:5-11 (but look at 2:1-18 for context!!
    If there is therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any depth within, and mercies, then fulfill my joy [friend], that you may be have the same mindset, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

    Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Let everyone not look to his own interests, but each of you also be concerned about others' concerns. others.
    (Phil. 2:1-4)
    Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, did not think it not robbery to be equal with God: Yet emptied himself, and took upon him the form of a slave, and was made in the human likeness: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

    Through all this God also has highly exalted him, and given him the name which is above every name: that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow -- of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth -- And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
    (Phil. 2:1-11)

    And because of all this, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

    Do all things without murmurings and disputings: that you may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.

    Yes, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all. For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me.
    (Phil. 2:12-18)
    Thank you, Br. Mark, for this wonderful thread:
    for the very very important question "What does it mean for God to be the center of our lives?"
    and these three important passages which help us think through that question!!

  4. #4
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    This will be very subjective, so please be patient...

    To me, being God centered means having a relationship with Jesus that is closer than any other relationship in my personal world. It means talking to Him all day long about anything and everything. My relationship with Jesus should be closer than my relationship with anyone else, including my spouse, my children, my neighbors - anyone.

    Being God centered means being open to the gentle leadings of the Holy Spirit. When I am God centered, the Holy Spirit can (and does) use me in whatever way He desires for the ultimate glory of the Father.

    Is that what you were asking, Brother Mark?
    V

  5. #5
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    For me it boils down to obedience to God. I can elaborate but...
    Slug1--out

    ~Does Predestination mean: Once of the devil, Always of the devil?~

    ~Limitations in a Christianís life are due to limited prayer and limiting obedience~

    ~Forgiveness has nothing to do with forgetting that moment... it's all about freedom FROM that moment.~


    ~Your needs activate God's compassion and faith activates God's power~

    ~Three minutes is a lifetime, if you only have two, too live~


  6. #6
    For me personally, I think of Paul writing "to live is Christ, and to die is gain".

    In my own life, I want everything that I do, say, or think, to stem from and be in obedience to; Jesus Christ (although I admit I fall far short on occasion).

    To put it another way, I want Him seated on the "throne" of my life.
    Ιησούς Χριστός ο κυριος μου και ο θεος μου



    ****When the Lord opens a door, don't walk through it....run full speed; if it's the wrong one He'll let ya know...sometimes He just wants to see if you'll move at all!****


    A Minister of God Ministry - Support and understanding for a Christian serving in the military

  7. #7
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    All good answers! Can we break this down a little? OK, first, tell me personally, what these verses mean to you and how we should apply them. (Thanks to Scruffy for the quotes.) Later, I would like to address these same verses and discuss what they mean to the church.

    Galatians 2:20
    "I am crucified with Christ: neverthless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." (Galatians 2:20)
    Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, did not think it not robbery to be equal with God: Yet emptied himself, and took upon him the form of a slave, and was made in the human likeness: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (Somewhere in Philipians 2)

    What does it mean to be "crucified" and to "empty ourselves"? How does this relate to "Take up your cross and follow me?"

    I really like the answers so far...

    Blessings,

    Mark
    Matt 9:13
    13 "But go and learn what this means: ' I DESIRE COMPASSION,AND NOT SACRIFICE,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
    NASU

  8. #8
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    "I am crucified with Christ: neverthless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." (Galatians 2:20)

    That I allow the Holy Spirit to use me as His hands and feet, His mouth and heart. Not me - Him. Jesus gave Himself for me that I might live eternally with Him. The least I can do is to offer this very short existence to Him to use however He will.


    Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, did not think it not robbery to be equal with God: Yet emptied himself, and took upon him the form of a slave, and was made in the human likeness: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
    Humility. Knowing that what I am, I am but by the grace of God and whatever I have belongs to Him.

  9. #9
    I want to take a quick detour from the verses you have posted, Br. Mark, to one or two more!! My intention is to come back to the "kenotic" (self-emptying) or "cruciform" (the-cross-shaped) verses you have posted. These, however, are very tough! So I want to start with something also tough, but slightly less terrifying for me, which helps me down that path.

    Very central to Jesus' teaching is obedience. I love what Slug said!! "For me it boils down to obedience to God." And I love the way he said it, too!
    "For me it boils down to obedience to God. I can elaborate but... "
    Yup! I can elaborate, too ... but ... when it comes right down to it, you have to just do it, just obey!! (I need to. Sometimes I even long to. But I'm so lousy at it!!)

    Jesus places great emphasis on obeying God, as the OT also does!! This is implied in what Jesus says about the importance of listening (for instance, Mark 4:1-34) Especially, the central petitions, the foundational petitions, of the Lord's prayer are "Thy kingdom come!" and "Thy will be done".
    The Psalms say "I delight to do Thy will, O God!" The Torah, and Jesus, say: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and mind and soul and strength!" This "first commandment" is also really the part of what is meant by the first commandment in the ten commandments "You shall have no other gods before me": If we worship (& thus ascribe ultimate worth) to God alone, then we must love Him with all our heart (and vice versa); and if we love God whole-heartedly, we must walk in His ways -- which are the ways of life -- and obey Him!!
    Thus "Thy will be done" is key to making God the center of our lives. We see Jesus doing this in Gethsemene: He says to His Father "If it is possible let this cup pass from me -- but, nevertheless, let Your will be done, not mine."

    This inner act of submission to God -- and, therefore, of letting go of our own desires and thoughts and opinions and plans -- is central, central to letting God dwell at the center of our lives, central to our obedience. To do otherwise is actually insane, because God is the source of all being, all life, all goodness, all beauty and truth, all love, all holiness and all delight! To cut ourselves off from Him -- or prefer our ways to His -- is plain idiocy! Yet that is the way we naturally incline!! Saying "Thy will be done", and further, "Thy will be done, not mine!" is at the core of making God the center of our lives, and thus at the core of receiving the life that is life indeed, the life that always satisfies and never fails, from God!

    The central verses that Br. Mark gives us are built on this! "I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live" because Christ now lives in me! "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who emptied himself" and so emptied himself that he was willing to "give up" heaven, and be born as a man, and he submitted to death, even death on a cross. This is obedience -- glad obedience (obedience charged, supercharged and embued with love for God and delight in His ways) -- of the most complete and whole-hearted kind, even unto death and accepting pain and failure from God's hand.

    (But I feel it is crazy and hypocritical for me to write about this, because I am so far from living this way in my own life!)

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Mark View Post
    All good answers! Can we break this down a little? OK, first, tell me personally, what these verses mean to you and how we should apply them. (Thanks to Scruffy for the quotes.) Later, I would like to address these same verses and discuss what they mean to the church.

    Galatians 2:20
    "I am crucified with Christ: neverthless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." (Galatians 2:20)

    Greetings Brother Mark,

    There is much emphasis in this community about how "I" should live since I am saved. But when the emphasis is on "I" rather than "Him" I will always fail. That is what this verse tells me. I profess to belong to Christ, therefore I live, but it is not by my own efforts, my being good enough, my works of righteousness to keep myself secure in Him. It is by Christ, Who is living in me, therefore I cannot live according to my flesh. It is not simply according to my fleshly or ungodly desires, but flesh in the sense that even my righteousness is but filthy rags. I MUST look fully to Christ living in me, and live by His faith working through me. All of my focus is on His work being done through me. Yes, I must work, but I could do nothing good apart from the faith of the Son of God in me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Mark View Post
    Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, did not think it not robbery to be equal with God: Yet emptied himself, and took upon him the form of a slave, and was made in the human likeness: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (Somewhere in Philipians 2)

    What does it mean to be "crucified" and to "empty ourselves"? How does this relate to "Take up your cross and follow me?"

    I really like the answers so far...

    Blessings,

    Mark
    This passage confirms what I am saying. Just as Christ, Who is equal with God, emptied Himself and became a servant and obedient to the cross. We, who are joint-heirs with Christ, brethren of the first born are also to empty ourselves, just as Christ emptied Himself for obedience to the Father, trusting fully that God would deliver Him from death. So we should fully trust that the Lord will keep us, just as He promised in this life. We can trust in Him to finish the work that He began in us. Again, this does not mean that their is not a work of faith that we will do. But our work relies on His ability to do what He has promised.

    This is how our faith is God centered instead of man centered.

    Many Blessings,
    RW

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by RogerW View Post
    [/indent]Greetings Brother Mark,

    There is much emphasis in this community about how "I" should live since I am saved. But when the emphasis is on "I" rather than "Him" I will always fail. That is what this verse tells me. I profess to belong to Christ, therefore I live, but it is not by my own efforts, my being good enough, my works of righteousness to keep myself secure in Him. It is by Christ, Who is living in me, therefore I cannot live according to my flesh. It is not simply according to my fleshly or ungodly desires, but flesh in the sense that even my righteousness is but filthy rags. I MUST look fully to Christ living in me, and live by His faith working through me. All of my focus is on His work being done through me. Yes, I must work, but I could do nothing good apart from the faith of the Son of God in me.



    This passage confirms what I am saying. Just as Christ, Who is equal with God, emptied Himself and became a servant and obedient to the cross. We, who are joint-heirs with Christ, brethren of the first born are also to empty ourselves, just as Christ emptied Himself for obedience to the Father, trusting fully that God would deliver Him from death. So we should fully trust that the Lord will keep us, just as He promised in this life. We can trust in Him to finish the work that He began in us. Again, this does not mean that their is not a work of faith that we will do. But our work relies on His ability to do what He has promised.

    This is how our faith is God centered instead of man centered.

    Many Blessings,
    RW
    Thank you, so much for this! I have been attempting to grasp this for years and I think I am finally beginning to get it Or, I should say He is bringing it to fruition in me

    The only thing I am called to do it to "fight the good fight of faith" that He has already done for me all that is needed to live the life of holiness and sanctification; a life centered on God.

    It is a life of rest and trust in all that He has accomplished for me; "Christ in me the hope of Glory"

    God has had me "parked" in Hebrews, Romans 4-8, and the first three chapters of Ephesians off and on now for a number of years as I have known there was this life to be lived - His life in and through me that I was not quite grasping yet.

    Just this morning, right before I started reading this, He took me back to Ephesians 1-3 and was finally "quickening" those truths to my heart!

    Brother, please pray for me. He has had me seeking this life for so long and I want so much to get grounded in it.

    "The just shall live by faith" or "The just shall live by His faith". Oh, I could go on and on

    It truly is the rest spoken of in the book of Hebrews, isn't it? It is a life of rest and peace....

    God is soooo good to me

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slug1 View Post
    For me it boils down to obedience to God. I can elaborate but...
    I will elaborate... read the 4th signature in all my signatures... trust God in your obedience.
    Slug1--out

    ~Does Predestination mean: Once of the devil, Always of the devil?~

    ~Limitations in a Christianís life are due to limited prayer and limiting obedience~

    ~Forgiveness has nothing to do with forgetting that moment... it's all about freedom FROM that moment.~


    ~Your needs activate God's compassion and faith activates God's power~

    ~Three minutes is a lifetime, if you only have two, too live~


  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by RogerW View Post
    [/indent]Greetings Brother Mark,

    There is much emphasis in this community about how "I" should live since I am saved. But when the emphasis is on "I" rather than "Him" I will always fail. That is what this verse tells me. I profess to belong to Christ, therefore I live, but it is not by my own efforts, my being good enough, my works of righteousness to keep myself secure in Him. It is by Christ, Who is living in me, therefore I cannot live according to my flesh. It is not simply according to my fleshly or ungodly desires, but flesh in the sense that even my righteousness is but filthy rags. I MUST look fully to Christ living in me, and live by His faith working through me. All of my focus is on His work being done through me. Yes, I must work, but I could do nothing good apart from the faith of the Son of God in me.

    This passage confirms what I am saying. Just as Christ, Who is equal with God, emptied Himself and became a servant and obedient to the cross. We, who are joint-heirs with Christ, brethren of the first born are also to empty ourselves, just as Christ emptied Himself for obedience to the Father, trusting fully that God would deliver Him from death. So we should fully trust that the Lord will keep us, just as He promised in this life. We can trust in Him to finish the work that He began in us. Again, this does not mean that their is not a work of faith that we will do. But our work relies on His ability to do what He has promised.

    This is how our faith is God centered instead of man centered.

    Many Blessings,
    RW
    --------------------------------------------------------------------

    I agree.. very well put!

    I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.


    When a person tries to live out a 'man centered' Chrisitianity... it most often becomes governed by his 'own' rules and regulations.. those that make 'him/her' feel 'righteous' or 'just' ... and when failing in those 'rules' and regulations.. the cycle of condemnation and guilt begins.. only to begin full circle again.. when the person makes another mistake.. trying to live up to the 'standards' put upon him/her by the rules and regulations they have put in place ......

    Paul states there is 'no condemnation'... no, not one ounce.. not one thread.. not one millithread.. of condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.. for those who walk in the Spirit..

    a walk that is God Centered and not man centered..

    If you are Truly His Child.. He will see you thru to the end... and this by the faith of the Son of God.. who liveth in you..... your whole existence and well being.. from beginning to end is based upon Him... and when we fail or are unfaithful... He is faithful.. He cannot deny Himself....

    If we believe not, [yet] he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Personally.....

    A God centered life is all about Him... what He has done for me.. how He changed my life...... How He was there when I failed and He picked me up.. when I didnt believe.. yet He was faithful.. and carried me thru.. showing me His great love.. and Mercy and Compassion....

    The Greatest thing He has done for me and this is personal, is that He by obedience went to the bloody tree and died.. taking my place.. so that I could be granted Eternal Life and the Free Gift of Righteousness.... and this not of my own power or works... but SOLELY by Him.. Salvation belongs to Him and Him Only..

    Its about what He has done for Me and What He continues to do for me.. while He liveth in me.. and My faith is in Him... no matter whats going on....

    Its not about how much I can accomplish for Him or what I've done for Him... although He will use me for His good pleasure and purposes... but Its all about Him...
    Many appear Righteous and Just because they say 'yes' to Jesus Christ , yet they don't do His Will.
    ------------------------------------------------
    Verily I say unto thee, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the Kingdom of Heaven before you do.
    ------------------------------------------------
    The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying. YEA, I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with LOVINGKINDESS have I DRAWN THEE.
    Jeremiah 31:3

  14. #14
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    For me, it is a life of 'dependence' (Spirit)

    Self centered, is 'independence' (flesh)

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scruffy Kid View Post
    "If it is possible let this cup pass from me -- but, nevertheless, let Your will be done, not mine."

    This inner act of submission to God -- and, therefore, of letting go of our own desires and thoughts and opinions and plans -- is central, central to letting God dwell at the center of our lives, central to our obedience.
    Amen! We let go of all, in order to obtain all.

    (But I feel it is crazy and hypocritical for me to write about this, because I am so far from living this way in my own life!)
    Isn't that what Paul meant when he said "I have not yet obtained...".
    Matt 9:13
    13 "But go and learn what this means: ' I DESIRE COMPASSION,AND NOT SACRIFICE,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
    NASU

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