That was the order my life was supposed to follow. I have always been told that your time should be poured out in that order. The problem is that this is really, really hard to practically do as a student. Nothing in my life follows a recipe or a schedule anymore. I am making a thanksgiving dinner in drive thru timing. Some days I spend 3 hours playing Risk and somedays I spend 8 hours in the library. Balancing time and commitments is harder than I could have ever imagined. I imagine that as I get older and add my kids, job, and spouse into the mix it isn’t going to get any easier.
How can I keep God at the top of that list when most of the time I just need his strength to get to my 9 AM? How can I keep family above friends when I live with my best friends and my family lives an hour away? How can I keep school below God when I spend hours working for good grades and forget to read my bible so much it is embarrassing? If the rest of my life takes 12 hours a day how can I possibly match that with the effort I put into my relationship with Christ?
This morning my whole perspective was changed when our lead pastor at The Net Church, Ryan May, explained the way we should focus our lives. He showed us a picture of the nativity scene. In the center was baby Jesus in the manger. Jesus was next to his parents, wisemen on one side, shepherds on the other, and of course the animals were scattered around the scene. He said this scene is how we should model our lives. God was there in the center of our lives with everything looking at Him.
The thing that is in the center of our lives should be what is most important to us and where we take our cues from. The center of our life will be what tells us whether things are going to be ok in the future, whether we should be happy or anxious, and how we should behave. We look to that center to make the decisions that effect the rest of our lives. Having Christ in the center of our lives, as we know, means that we will not be anxious, that we will have joy, and that we will love others.
We have to be careful to not replace Christ with any of the other things in our lives, even the good things like family or friends. When we put family in the center, we let our families dictate how we feel or what we do. We put our parents or spouses’ will for our lives above what God’s will is. When we let our friends be the center we seek their approval above God’s approval and unconditional love. Things that fail can’t be at the center of our lives, it just doesn’t work that way.
My life doesn’t work as a list. Family, friendships, school, and service are all equally important to me and without them I wouldn’t be who I am. Above all of those things, at the center of who I am, is Christ. He is there to tell me who I need to be and what I am supposed to do. He tells me how to be a part of my family and reminds me of their importance. He rejoices when my friendships strengthen my faith and help me grow as a person. He teaches me about the plans he has for my future in my studies. He shows me his love for the world when I serve.
Bible study is important, but I learn so much more from God when I don’t limit him to what he can teach me through daily devotion. I live my life for Christ when I put him in the center of it all and take my cues from him. I have the Holy Spirit in me and it serves as a constant reminder that God is with me at all times.
I don’t have to exclude the good things in my life to make time for God. They are all there. A part of the scene of my life. They have a place. It just isn’t the center.