The Secrets to Successful Living
Pt 2 – Christ as Center
We started two weeks ago talking about this idea of success in Christian living. We talked last about redefining the idea of success, beginning to measure success not as the world does but by a new set of measures. In the end our success is found in following the one who has created us and becoming what He has made us to be.
As we continue to look at this subject turn with me for a moment to Colossians 1. In this short passage we find the second secret to successful Christian living; keeping Christ as the central focus of life.
If we want to be successful we need…
A Kingdom Mentality – Paul says that God rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the Kingdom of His beloved Son. The word Kingdom in the Greek is the word basileia. It means royal power, dominion, or kingship. Paul doesn’t imply that we have been transferred to a new place (some magic kingdom) but to a new authority. This new status leaves us in the authority of a King. I think one of our problems today is that we misunderstand this Kingdom authority. Our idea of the Kingdom of God is more like a constitutional monarchy. That’s what they have in Great Brittain. You know they have a Queen – do they call her the Queen? Do they spend large amounts of money to support their queen? Do they build beautiful places for their Queen to live? Do they support her as the Queen? How much power does she have in their lives? None. Kind of like God. God is for most of us in the Church today – a figure head – a wonderful symbol of our freedom and allegiance but in reality devoid of power in our personal lives. The reality of most of our lives is that we live as practical atheists – our lives reflect none of the Lordship of Christ – our priorities reflect none of His Leadership – and our hearts reflect little of His love for the world. We know Him, we acknowledge Him, we even bow to Him when we think He’s looking our way but in every crisis or decision in life – we really call the shots. If you want to see the end point of a life live this way look no further than Jonah – now instead of me telling you the story – let me let some friends do it [clip from bluefish]. Like Jonah our present spiritual condition is not a result of not knowing the truth it’s in not living the truth. It’s not that we don’t know God is King we just don’t act like He’s King. It’s not because we don’t know what God wants from us it’s that we don’t care enough to do it. If we want to be successful in this Christian walk – we need to live with a Kingdom mentality – that see’s God as God and learns to obey.
We need to see Christ as Central to life and living – v.16-18 Paul’s words here reflect the entirety of scripture. The first 4 words in the Genesis reflect the world as it is “In the beginning God…” The first of the Ten Commandments given by God to Moses “I am the Lord your God and you must have no other god but me.” Revelation 1:8 says “I am the Alpha and the Omega- the beginning and the end,…I am the one who is, who always will be, and who is still to come- the Almighty One.” Throughout scripture we are told 6 times that our God is a jealous God and will suffer no rivals for our affection. Yet we live in a culture where other idols and gods abound. When I talk about Idols this is not exactly what I mean [clip from bluefish]. Tozer in his book “Success and the Christian” writes “we have too many gods. We have too many irons in the fire. And we have too much theology that we don’t understand. We have too much religion and too much “churchianity” and too much institutionalism and too much too much. The result is that God is not [in our hearts] by himself. He says “If I’m not in your heart by myself, I won’t work.” How many things crowd God out of our hearts? How many things take first place in the journey of our lives? Paul says that Christ is to have first place in everything. [slide] Our hearts are cluttered by so many different things – so many priorities – so much stuff that often we can barely even tell He is there. Idols attach themselves to our lives so innocently and so slowly that we barely recognize them. Once vibrant worship turns to going through the motions. Once blazing hearts turn to smoldering ashes. It happens so slowly that we often don’t notice until our hearts begin to cry out for a renewed relationship with God. Like Jacob in Genesis 35 we need to round up the idols of our lives and bury them so that our lives can be centered once again on the on the one who is to have first place in everything. [slide]
I want you to think for a moment this morning about the things that have come to have first place in your affections, your heart, your life. Has God become a figurehead ruler – a banner and symbol but with no power in your life? Has the stuff of life become more the focus of your life that He is?