So I heard a comment the other day that I’m sure you’ve heard occasionally as well, “You just need to put Jesus in the center of your life!” Let me tell you why that bugs me.
First of all, the picture it creates in my head is picking up one of my son’s little action figure guys and placing him in the middle of a circle. That’s puts me as the Unmoved Mover, the Controller of who or what gets to be my center. And Jesus is just anxiously waiting to get promoted from his wingman position (which is reminding me of another bad piece of advice about making him your co-pilot).
The thing is, Jesus is already the center of everyone’s life. For some of us it is a blessed center, and for some it is their greatest destruction. He is our Creator and our Redeemer, “heir of all things” (Heb.1:2). There’s no getting around that; no putting him outside our so-called circle. This is why if we look to anything else, our life falls apart. There is nothing else worthy of our worship. Think of an axle to a wheel. The wheel cannot function how it was created without a proper axle.
We don’t make Jesus the creator of the world, we don’t make him heir of all things, and we don’t make him our personal Lord and Savior. He is who he is.
The great blessing for us is the have eyes to see and faith to respond, “here I am.” This quote from Michael Horton’s The Christian Faith is well worth it’s length:
Thus, the covenantal self is, to borrow Ricoeur’s phrase, “the summoned subject in the school of the narratives of the prophetic vocation.” To be human is to be called by God to direct the whole creation to its appointed goal, which is nothing less than sharing in God’s Sabbath consummation. These “narratives of vocation” constitute the self-identity of the prophet, and we should bear in mind that this vocation may be understood in the narrower sense (biblical prophets) and the broader sense (the general office of all human beings in creation and of all believers in redemption).
To conclude, we come to know ourselves as human beings—that is, as God’s image-bearers—not only by looking within but chiefly by looking outside of ourselves to the divine Other who addresses us. It is only as we take our place in this theater of creation—the liturgy of God’s speaking and creaturely response—that we discover a selfhood and personhood that is neither autonomous nor illusory but doxological and real. Who am I? I am one who exists as a result of being spoken by God. Furthermore, I am one of God’s covenant children whom he delivered out of Egypt, sin, and death. I am one who has heard his command but not fulfilled it, one in whom faith has been born by the Spirit through the proclamation of the gospel. Because human beings are by nature created in covenant with God, self-identity itself depends on one’s relation to God. It is not because I think, feel, experience, express, observe, or will, but because in the totality of my existence I hear God’s command and promise that I recognize that I am, with my fellow image-bearers, a real self who stands in relation to God and the rest of creation.
No one can escape the reality of God in his or her experience, because there is no human existence that is possible or actual apart from the ineradicable covenant identity that belongs to us all, whether we flee the summons, or whether we reply, “Here I am” (p.405-6).
He is the One casting us in his great drama. We find our identity and greatest satisfaction in the knowledge and love of our Creator and Redeemer. How will we respond to the summons of our great King?