I have written an Ephesians Quiet Time Series entitle “Living As One New Man.” I will post a new lesson each Monday morning through 2012, as we walk through one of the richest books in the Bible – ENJOY!
“A God-Centered Faith”
Living As One New Man #1
Read Ephesians 1:1-3
“Keep your eyes on God!” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that as a Christian. I suppose that’s because it’s right. It sounds so easy, until you humbly consider how often we get it wrong.
Paul starts the book of Ephesians with the challenge to praise God for the abundance of blessings he has heaped upon us. We will talk at length about the blessings we have in Christ, but unless we begin with the proper object of our praise, the rest of the book (or even our faith) will be distorted. To “praise” means to give someone proper admiration and commendation – when it comes to our faith, it clearly ALL belongs to God. In fact, the Bible is radically God-centered. It begins and ends with God, not us. To take it further, the only reason we have any hope at all is because God first decided to bless us. This is the essence of the gospel.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones observes, “Much of the trouble in the Church today is due to the fact that we are so subjective, so interested in ourselves, so egocentric. That is the peculiar error of this present century…We must not start by examining ourselves and our needs microscopically; we must start with God, and forget ourselves.”
Like I said, easier said than done! It takes us a nanosecond to put our own needs first, to get our eyes fixed on our own problems or needs, to put a leader on a pedestal (where nobody but God belongs), to give someone in the church the keys to our happiness, to believe we make all the difference as a leader, to believe our own efforts create or undo success in the church, or to believe our persuasive words matter more than the scriptures. Sadly, we believe we matter more than we actually do. In fact, it even can even influence how we lead others to salvation in Christ. We start with a “Seeking God” study, which can easily put the focus on what we are/are not doing to pursue a relationship with God. Perhaps we need to start with a “Seeking Man” study, and put the emphasis where it rightly belongs – on a totally selfless, sacrificial, loving God who, from time immemorial, has relentlessly and painfully (for him) pursued us!
As hard as it may be, let us always remember that the ONLY reason we have what he do is because God decided to bless us. What is the proper response to that? To give him all praise and glory, and steadfastly remind ourselves to put God at the center of all we do!
1. How easy is it for you to put someone/something at the center of your faith? How does it affect you? Does it change you view of God’s blessings? Consider ways that you can constantly remind yourself to keep God at the center of your Christian life!