Early in my exploring years I found the carpenterâ€™s level in my fatherâ€™s tool box. I was intrigued by it. Every time I move the level up, down, sideways, the little green bubble moved, and to me it did not follow the movement of my hands, but a movement all its own. Dad explained, the bubble was a way of determining if a table, shelf, or anything you were building was level with the world. The bubble was independent of the environment around it. The whole house could have been built crooked to the world, but with this level you could make a shelf that was level. The problem, if the shelf is level, and the house is crooked, the shelf will look crooked. It was built level with the world, not level with the environment.
The Bible is our level, our gravity plumb line. When we are standing straight according to the plumb line of God, and we are on the level as directed by the Word of God, we often look totally out of sync with the world. This really bothers many people in the church. They really want to look like everyone else.
Another tool that grabbed my attention was a compass. A simple tool with a long sharp point on one side, and a holder for a pencil on the other. The two legs are hinged at the top in such a way that allows you to measure the radius of a circle between the point of the sharp leg and the point of the pencil. Then, putting the point on a paper or writing material, you can scribe a perfect circle with that exact radius; this sharp point of the compass makes a mark on the paper and that point is called the center. I drew bunches of circles getting this tool figured out.
God Centered, with the Bubble in the Middle.
â€œWe have centers for everything: ministry centers, childcare centers, convention centers, medical centers, and shopping centers. Thereâ€™s the Lincoln Center in New York, the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, the National Hurricane Center in Miami, and the Kennedy Center in Washington. The word center comes from a Greek term meaning a prick or sharp point, specifically the exact point marking the middle of a geometric circle.â€ Remember the compass.
â€œIf something is the center, everything revolves around its. Just as planets orbit the sun, our habit, hearts, affections, and thoughts musts revolve around the Lord Jesus Christ, who is our ultimate center of all reality (Col.1:17).â€
â€œThe French writer, Fenelon, advises us to become so committed to Godâ€™s glory that all other motives pale in comparison, saying, â€˜It is then that God becomes the center of the soul to which all its affections tend to rotate.â€â€™
â€œWhen weâ€™re self-centered, weâ€™re self-deceived. When God is the center, and central to all that we do, we can have confidence that He is in control and that our worlds are aligned correctly.â€ Henry J. Van Dyke said, â€œStars and angels around thee, a center of unbroken praise.â€
Getting your bubble in the middle, and making Christ the center of your world, being the pin point around which you revolve is a major decision and judgment on our part. Corinthians tells us that evil companions corrupt good morals. If we allow our peers at work or at school to be our center, we will be corrupted and our bubble will be way off. How do we make Christ the center of our life, to get our bubble in the middle? It is obviously more than grace, faith and baptism.
Read Romans 12:1,2 and you will know the answer. Somewhere in your maturing, somewhere in your spiritual growing up, you must decide to offer your body as a living sacrifice to God. Make him the sovereign that is the LORD of your life. Let Him be in charge of your decisions. Let Him be in charge of your prejudices, and occupation. I know that the self-centered think that would be the pits, but when you allow that to happen, your life takes on a new joy and meaning that the self-centered will never understand.
Remember one of the steps to salvation is repentance. This is more than being sorry; it is a change of mind (renewing your mind, transforming your mind), change your heart, what you love, and change your direction, where you are going. That often does not happen all at once, and you need to be aware that you need to daily work on those three things to transform your life. To Be A Transformer.
Then you will be able to test and approve what Godâ€™s will is. How often someone comes to me and is in a quandary, â€œI donâ€™t know if God wants me to go to California or to New York? I want to know His perfect will for my life.â€ I tell them, â€œI donâ€™t think right now, in your life, God cares where you go because you have not transformed your life to where God can use you.â€ That transformation is a change of mind, a change of heart, and a change of direction; at that point Christ will be the center, and your bubble will be in the middle. Knowing the will of God means connecting myself to God and not the culture. Then God will direct me to where he wants me, and you will have no doubt about it.
As a boy, I took dadâ€™s level and checked everything in the house to see if the bubble was in the middle. Our house at that time was built on a sand hill and the house set on piers. Dad had done his best to make things straight, but there were variances everywhere. I was very critical with that level in my hand. I had the evidence right there; the counter was slightly off â€œkilter.â€ Somewhere in my growing up years I realized that a counter being slightly off â€œkilterâ€ was not all that important. I then began to use the Bible and Christ as my level, plumb line, and compass and began to measure my life. Wow! What a discovery; talk about being off â€œkilter,â€ I was a mess. The surprising thing, as I adjusted here, and added knowledge there, and firmed up the foundation over there, I began to watch the bubble move toward the middle of Christ the center of my life. It is a process. You cannot go to the Christian Book Store and buy that, you cannot inherit it from your father or mother, you cannot get a transfusion from your favorite preacher. You must handle the level, plumb line, and compass in the construction of your individual life. In the process, being diligent, WE find the perfect will of God.