Every person has a “personal center.” Whatever is at the center of our life will
be the source of our security, guidance, wisdom and power. Security represents
your sense of worth, your identity, your sense of being somebody. Guidance
means your source for moment-by-moment decision making and doing. Wisdom
is your perspective on life, your understanding of how the various parts and principles of life apply and relate to each other. Power is the faculty or capacity to act, the strength and potency to accomplish something.
There are many “personal centers” that are inadequate and self-defeating. For example, money/possessions can be an inadequate “personal center.” You tend to define your personal worth by your net worth. You are vulnerable to anything that threatens your economic security. Money becomes your source of security and power. Profit becomes your decision-making criterion. Money making is the lens through which life is understood. If you are successful with money, the temptation is to superiority; if you are not as successful as others the temptation is to jealousy and envy.
Other inadequate “personal centers” are work/achievement, family/children, pleasure/comfort, spouse/love, relationships/approval and religion/morality……ad infinitum.
The only adequate “personal center” I know of is a Gospel-centered life. Gospel centrality has to do with the Gospel becoming our “personal center” i.e. the source of our security, guidance, wisdom and power. Let us unpack this for a moment.
So what is the Good News according to Jesus Christ? The prayer of belief says, “Lord Jesus, I admit that I am weaker and more sinful than I ever before believed, but, through You, I am more loved and accepted than I ever dared hope. I repent of my sins of self-ruling and self-saving. I thank You for paying my debt, bearing my punishment on the cross and offering forgiveness and new life. Thank You that my sin and rebellion are Yours and Your righteous, perfect and obedient life is mine through faith in You. Knowing that You died on the cross and have been raised from the dead, I turn from my sins and receive You as Savior and Lord, and I anxiously await Your return when I will see You face to face. I now resolve in humble reliance on the Holy Spirit and through the power of the Gospel graciously working in my life to seek to walk in a manner pleasing to You.”
To be Gospel centered means first of all that the Gospel is our source of security. Our personal worth is defined by His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21). There is therefore now, no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). Christ becomes my identity. Who I am is defined by who I am in union with Him. Since I am saved by grace, I am neither inferior to nor superior over anyone. All striving for and achieving worth and identity are redundant. I can rest in Christ.
To be Gospel centered also means that the Gospel becomes the source of moment-by-moment decision making. I am to live in alignment with the Gospel as Paul told Peter (Galatians 2:14). What to do is found in the third way of the Gospel. I act neither moralistically (legalism) nor relativistically (license) but through the Gospel I act obediently (freedom), I love.
Gospel centrality also is the way of wisdom. In 1 Corinthians 1:30 Paul says the Gospel is the wisdom of God, i.e. it is our righteousness and sanctification and redemption. The Gospel paradigm is a whole new way of seeing how the parts fit together to make a glorious whole. It is truly shalom.
Finally, the Gospel is our source of power. Power is the ability or capacity or strength to achieve or to accomplish. In Romans 1:16 Paul says the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes. Salvation encompasses deliverance from the penalty, power and presence of sin. Paul says the Gospel has within it the power to accomplish this for us.
So to be Gospel centered is to be Christ centered. It is to live out of Him.