The longer I walk with God, the more I want to emphasize the basics of the Christian faith. Today, if we want to, we can attend all kinds of special conferences that emphasize particular areas – prophecy, apostolic ministry, spiritual gifts, intercession – all of which are valid expressions. But the more I hear about such things, the more I want to focus my attention on the essence of the basic Gospel.
I keep coming back to the most basic elements of our faith: the message of God’s grace, salvation, what makes life, life, why we should have joy.
Jesus is the center of our faith. I keep returning to the center because I want to be centered! Here, clinging close to Jesus, we are safe, protected, shielded from the storms of life. The storms will still come. We will still be challenged, stretched, wrung out. But we will be anchored in Him. Secure, unshaken.
Racing car drivers are trained to focus their attention on where they want to go (as opposed to where they don’t want to go). The premise is simple: they are traveling so fast that if something catches their attention and they look at it, they’ll hit it! So they learn to tune out the peripheral and focus on the road ahead.
We find ourselves moving in the right direction when we keep our eyes focused on Jesus, our gaze fixed on Him. I don’t want to pay too much attention to the peripheral. I don’t want to be drawn away to focus on specialty areas on the side. I want to keep my attention on Jesus.
If I take my eyes off Him, I can’t follow where He is going. I am less in tune with Him. Less aware of what’s on His heart. When I keep my eyes fixed on Him, I stay connected to the simplicity and power of the Gospel. My priorities are the same as His priorities. My heartbeat is in tune with His heartbeat.
I believe when others respond to Jesus, they respond because of the simple Gospel message: from darkness to light, from death to life, from hopelessness to hope, from unbelief to faith.
Let’s keep it simple, and let’s keep centered.