No matter where we turn these days, there is a reason to be upset. Consider the weekend that was (the last weekend in May). Shortly after the grim milestone of 100,000 reported deaths caused by COVID-19, we saw often out-of-control riots in over a dozen cities, culminated by a rather bleak image of a White House without its lights on. The fabric of our country is being ripped apart at the seams by both invisible and visible agents of change. Change by a virus that is unwelcomed and change by a protest that is hoped for. Never in my lifetime have I felt such unrest in my spirit. A real temptation to be consumed by thoughts and emotions. Grief that I cannot comprehend. Lament that I cannot articulate. It is one thing when you feel your “head spinning,” it’s another thing all together when you feel your heart tossed about in a storm.
So, what are we to do? I do not have all the answers. I do know the scripture calls us to be good listeners and slow to anger (James 1:19). Medical professionals, people of color, liberals, conservatives – anyone who may think differently than you – are all worthy of our time and effort to hear their voices. So that is a very good start. I also know humility is the secret sauce for unity, peace, and ultimately the life which gives God glory (2 Chronicle 7:14, Colossians 3:12, Ephesians 4:2). Jesus has overcome the world and all the sin therein (John 16:33), so there is no need for Christians to posture themselves as the superior know-it-alls. For while Christ-followers know the truth of who God is, we are not to consider ourselves better than others, but rather, to maintain humble hearts toward others (Philippians 2:1-3).
Instead of yet another article which attempts to tell you what to do and how to think, hear my heart inviting you to consider a way in which we are to live.
It is admirable to declare, “Jesus is the center of my life, the middle of the bullseye.” Beyond the center, then, are rings of a person’s life: spouse, children, career, social life, etc. This speaks to a desire of priority and value. God receives glory and honor when he is considered the most valuable person in your life, it’s true. However, when Jesus is the center of your bullseye, it is possible then, for arenas of your life to barely affected by Jesus. It is very easy to segment your life and consider your relationship with Jesus only another experience which exists to make your life better or a person for you to enjoy, at your prerogative. You may shuffle these arenas in such a way that sometimes Jesus and the sound biblical doctrine is important, sometimes it is your opinion which takes priority.
Rather than a bullseye, may we be found living life with Jesus as the hub of our wagon wheel. The wooden wagon wheel is an invention dating back to 2000 B.C. Though not necessarily fancy, it’s a construction which has stood the test of time. What makes the wagon wheel so valuable and efficient, is its ability to disperse weight evenly. Whether transporting a light or heavy load, going over long distances, or making short quick turns, the structure of the wheel allows the wagon to keep moving in the desired direction. As you visualize a wagon wheel, think of Jesus as the hub from which all spokes go forth. The best wagon wheel hubs are made of a hard wood like Ash, able to withstand violent vibrations and intense pressure. So too, is power and presence of Jesus to be the one in our life who can sustain us through uncertainly, suffering, and despair. Each spoke of the wheel, an arena of our life. Now in each life experience Jesus is the foundation for truth and clarity of perspective. As the wheel turns, the spoke withstands whatever condition the road because of the strength of the hub. John 1:14 & 17 teaches us that Jesus is truth. He is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). God the Holy Spirit will guide us in all truth (John 16:13). So while this may not be a direct answer to every single issue we face within our society or culture, this may not give you answer the questions you have about a relationship you are in, a family matter you are facing, or the “yes or no” to a decision you have to make. When living with Jesus as the hub of your wagon wheel, it will ensure you have right perspective of who he is and who you are. It means you will lean not on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6) but you will know the truth and it will set you free (John 4:24).
So, this means we listen to others, we walk in humility, but we live lives fully and completely dependent on who God is and what he has declared as true. Who God is and what he has done leads us to do that same. The latest headline nor the trending article written by a famous personality is to be our hub. Instead, Psalm 25 tells us that God will teach us the truth, he will give us clarity as we seek him. May we pray the prayer of Psalm 86 that God will give us an undivided heart. He promises he will be near to us (Psalm 145:18). During the violent vibrations and intense pressure each new day brings, may we as Christ followers be found giving him the preeminence (Colossians 1:18).