Making God the Center

When I was in grade school, we made “About Me” identity charts of ourselves to show all the different parts of our lives that were important to us. I remember mine looking something like a sun, with my circled name in the middle and several radiating lines pointing to various things in my life: family, friends, violin, books, school, music, and even God. All these things had me in common, because I was the center of my world.

Isn’t this exactly what we do unconsciously every single day by default? I am the protagonist and God is just a part of my life. However, what do you do when life gets burdensome and heavy? That weak girl in the middle could not support all that stuff. And she tried! I learned by experience that you need someone stronger than yourself to be the “center” of who you are. Otherwise you are just holding up the world like Luisa from Encanto.

Believers who truly pursue God also need to be careful not to fall into this subtle way of thinking. Just as new believers have so much learning (and unlearning to do), the more mature believers also are prone to slipping and must do everything they can to remain sober and vigilant.

About fifteen years ago I struggled through a dark depression. I believed in God with saving faith, but my heart was so deeply entrenched in myself, that I believe He gave me over to it for a time. I remember more than one trusted person getting frustrated with me and blurting out, “Get over yourself!” At the time I balked, offended and hurt, but they were right. In a way, I was glorifying myself. It was all about my crushed desires for my future. There was no room in my head and heart for what God might desire for me.

Putting God at the center of my life has brought me more fulfillment and peace and joy than I ever had when I was living for myself. It doesn’t seem like it should be true, but it is.

This world says that we deserve whatever we want. It screams day in and day out that happiness in this life is all that matters. The problem with that is that we do not actually know what makes us truly happy. If we had it all figured out, there would be no room for theft or murder or cheating; we would be perfect. We would not over indulge by way of addiction or hide our secret deeds away.

From the beginning of time, humans have lifted up Self as the center of their natural worldview. We grope blindly for some kind of gratification, even though it is temporary, meanwhile refusing to acknowledge the only true and permanent fulfillment there is. God’s word – that is, wisdom – is disregarded. And yet even in spite of itself, worldly wisdom knows that being self-centered is not a compliment.

But here’s what I know for sure: When I deliberately put God as the center of my life, things changed for me. Not on the outside! All the same problems and broken relationships remained. I changed. Once I acknowledged that God knew more than me and especially after I started to intentionally read my Bible, my thinking began to be transformed. 

Now, I am able to look at the world and see myself as I was meant to: 

  • I am a beloved daughter who has been adopted into the family of God. (Ephesians 1:4-5)
  • I have access to all the spiritual blessings that God has. (Ephesians 1:3)
  • I am safe and will never need to fend for myself. (Psalm 23; Psalm 91)

How can you really recognize for sure whose life has been transformed by God? Jesus says that it is by the fruit they bear – whether good or bad: 

“The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”

Luke 6:45

“You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.”

Matthew 7:16-20

“You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil.”

Matthew 12:34-35

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

Galatians 5:22-23

Reflection: Sometimes God allows dark periods in our lives to help us come to a point of understanding that it is not all about us. He knows our every inner working and understands how and why we have such trouble seeing this. Not only that, he loves us so much that he doesn’t leave us there in the dark. This is why he sent Jesus to us, to live a perfect sinless life and die so that we could take on that righteousness and be able to live forever with Him with joy that never fades.

Journal prompt: What is the spiritual fruit God is growing in your life? Can you recognize the fruit of others around you? 

Prayer: Thank you Lord, for how you love us even though we can be so unlovable. Thank you that I do not need to be the center of my own life, upholding the world on my shoulders. Rather, you uphold everything for me and grow in me perfect peace that exceeds all understanding. 

All scripture references taken from ESV unless otherwise noted. 


Photo by Vince Fleming on Unsplash

The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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