CHANGING CENTEREDNESS

“Jesus replied, ‘Now the time has come for the Son of Man to enter into His glory. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives.’”

John 12:23-24

Jesus knew why He was here. Can you imagine knowing why you were here and never changing your mind about why you are here? Jesus went beyond that. He didn’t just have a one-track mind about why He was here; even more than that, His actions and His words didn’t waver. He is unchanging.  

We have all met some very focused people who seem like they know exactly why they are here on earth. But we also know that their actions have wavered, and their words and emotions have struggled to stay unchanging about their purpose.

Here, in this verse, Jesus reveals that He knows exactly why He has come to earth. He has come to die. Interesting. No one I know says “the purpose of why I am here is to die.” Some of us may want this life to end, but that’s not the sort of thought Jesus had in mind when He says that He’s come to die. He came so that none of us would have to think that kind of horrible, suicidal thought. He showed the way through so that suicidal thoughts and every other thought which brings about our demise would lose their power over us. He came to change the “center-thought,” that which is at the center of all of our thinking.

He wasn’t so much interested in modifying behavior because He had seen generation after generation try to alter their behavior in order to change their circumstance, and they always got the same result. No, He came to change the center. He came to swap out the center we were used to, the one producing thoughts of demise and death.

Life doesn’t work if He is not the center. Think about a wheel as it spins: the center of a wheel seems as if it is not spinning at all while the outer spokes seem to be spinning rapidly. The center looks stable and unchanging while everything else is constantly moving and in flux. In the same way, if Jesus is at the center of who we are, then our “wheel of life” will truly remain unchanging, stabilizing our whole life. Our center must be unchanging, and only Jesus can be that center.

He is the only one who could change our self. You can’t change your own self-centeredness unless you are totally selfless. If you are your own center, how can you ever be free of self-centered living?  We can try to change our own self-centeredness with good behavior, but the closer we get to our own self-centeredness, the more we get sucked into our self. A life lived for one’s self is a blackhole. The gravity of self only gets stronger the closer you get to the center.

Jesus, the unchanging God, came to change our center from one of self-centeredness to Christ-centeredness.  He came to replace “self,” as our center, with Himself. He showed us the way through: He is the way and He made a way. This way is unchanging, just like the God who made the way. Thank you, Jesus, for offering yourself as our center!

Unless a seed falls to the ground and dies...