Be God Centered - And Not In YourselvesBy Pastor Zac Poonen
All the misery, sorrow and murders and every other wretched thing that we see in the world around us, is due to man having decided to choose for himself what is good and what is evil. He doesn’t want God to tell him. And that is the reason for every unhappy marriage as well – even among Christians. Multitudes of Christians live with Self as the centre of their life – and they reap what they sow.
When God made Adam He wanted him to rule over the earth. Adam was created to be a king, not a slave. And God wanted Eve to be a queen beside Adam. But what do we see today? Men and women are slaves everywhere – slaves to their passions and to the corruptible things of earth.
When God created this earth He made everything beautiful. The forbidden tree was also beautiful. When Adam and Eve stood in front of that tree, they had to make a choice: Would they choose the beautiful things God had created, or would they choose God Himself?
That is the choice all of us have to make every day. If our life is centred in ourselves, we will pursue after God’s gifts (the things He has created) and not after God Himself. Most of the quarrels that take place in homes are over earthly things. Such quarrels arise because the husband and wife choose created things instead of God Himself – and they reap the consequences of their choice. They sow to the flesh and so they reap corruption. Man becomes a slave when he chooses created things over his Creator.
Jesus came to deliver us from this slavery. Man is a slave today to the power of money, to illegitimate sexual pleasure, to the opinions of others, and to many other things. He is not free. God created him to be like the eagle that flies high in the sky. But everywhere we find man in chains, unable to conquer his temper, unable to control his tongue, unable to control his lustful eyes. Jesus came, not just to die for our sins, but also to deliver us from this slavery.
The Bible says that God is Light and God is Love. God’s Love is His Light. In a dark room, the power of light drives away the darkness. God’s power is like that. Life without God’s power, without His love, will only be darkness.
Our whole life on earth is a period of testing and probation, to prepare us for a kingdom in eternity, where everything will be ruled by the law of love. Every situation and circumstance that God takes us through now is therefore designed by Him to test us in one area – whether we will live by the law of love. And that is why God allows so many trials and difficulties in our lives. God is Almighty and He could have made life on earth such that we never had any trials at all. But God in His great wisdom has ordained trials as a means by which we learn to love. If we overcome our selfishness and determine that love alone will guide our life, God will be able to prepare us to be rulers in His coming kingdom. We have to think about that now, or else we will find in eternity that we missed the opportunities that God gave us on earth – and never learnt what we were supposed to learn.
Pastor Poonen evaluates the call to live for God versus self below in examining the error of Balaam, who sought to profit from the gift of God.