May 14, 2012
I know when I was at my lowest point … Essex County jail in Newark, NJ, ripped shirt, cut and bloodied face, bruised and battered body, sitting alone in a cold jail cell … I knew something was really messed up. But, up until that rock bottom experience, my focus was on trying to clean up the outer part of my life, trying to be a better decision-maker to improve my external behavior, looking right in front of other people. A funny thing happened as I started this “makeover.” I realized in order to improve the part of me everyone saw, I first had to really examine what was going on inside, in my heart. Far too often, we focus on the outward self, but true transformation can only start on the inside. Then it powerfully, but without intention, ripples outward.
I realized, at the center of my heart, I was worshiping or glorifying a lot of insignificant and worldly pursuits. You see, when you glorify something or worship it, you give it great weight in your life. The root of the Hebrew word for “glorify” carries this idea of “significant weight” or “heaviness”. For example, the sun has great mass, and weighs a lot. And the gravitational force of that weight causes other, smaller objects to be drawn to it and to orbit around it. These smaller objects are subservient to the weighty object.
Ideally, I worship God. He’s bigger than and weighs more than anything else in my life, and He then determines the orbits of everything else around Him. I place God at the center intellectually, and give evidence of this through my attitude in life, the words I speak, and my actions.
We can worship many things. The short list: self, need for control, safety, love, acceptance, importance, competence, money, material things … or nice things like kids, house, spouse, job, ministry … the list is really endless. But all these lead to the same miserable destination.
No matter what trivial item I choose to worship, the weight I give it in my life will shape and determine the orbits of everything else in my life around it, including God. Listen to me closely! Placing God in a position orbiting around anything else is a formula for disaster. Only God is omnipotent, omniscient, and sovereign over all things. His place is at the center and He orders the orbits of everything else in a great way.
How did I get out of my rock bottom? Starting on the inside, I decided to make Jesus, not just my savior, but the Lord of my life. This one step allowed God to transform me from the inside out.
Today, when you make your decisions, examine what is at the center of your heart/universe. Start by asking, “What is my greatest need right now? On what does my life depend in this situation? From where do I get my confidence? What will get me into heaven?” Then take stock of the downside when you are worshipping anything other than God. Please give God the place and weight He deserves. It transformed my life, and it will transform yours. WITHIN REACH and EDGING FORWARD were developed to help you do just what I did, in a step-by-step way. Whom or what you make Lord of your life is your decision, so choose well.
Dear Father, through this renewed intimacy with You, I feel you are transforming me from the inside out. For far too long I have been focusing on the outer person. Now I focus on the inner person. I pray that as I increase my focus on You, my Lord, You will transform me into the one You desire me to be. I yield to you, Lord, I do not resist this change nor do I desire to slow it down or speed it up. I let You set the pace, Lord, for I know Your timing is perfect. I know now that a delay does not mean “no.” I hold your hand, Jesus, with childlike trust, just as babies hold their parent’s hands as they learn to walk, step by step. Hold my hand, Lord, let me feel and enjoy the tempo of this God-breathed life I am now living. All glory to You, God. Thank You Jesus. Thank You Lord. I pray this in the name of the One who always had God at the center of His heart, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18
“And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the LORD, which I am commanding you today for your good? Behold, to the LORD your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it. Deuteronomy 10:12-14