Why is God-centered thinking so important?
Over the years at Neighborhood Church we have come to recognize more and more the importance of God-centered thinking as critical for church health as well as the spiritual health of the individual Christian.
The reason for this is simple enough: We are to be God-centered in our thinking and therefore, our motives, actions and words because God is God-centered.
What is God-centered thinking?
A clear expression of God-centeredness comes in Paul’s doxology to the Romans, “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever.” (Rom. 11:36) If all things come from Him and exist through Him and are to (or for) Him, then it is evident that He is the center of everything that has existed or will exist. Everything exists for God’s glory!
Does God really delight in Himself above all things?
God’s greatest source of delight is in Himself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He is joyful in the relationships within the Godhead (John 17:24), He is pleased with his works in creation (Gen. 1:31), and He takes pleasure in His work of redemption (Eph. 1:3-14).
If God were to find greater pleasure in someone or something outside Himself, it would mean that there is something or someone greater than God. Rather, because God is greatest in every regard, He must also be the source of His greatest joy and ours.
Why is it important to also be Joy-driven?
While God-centeredness may seem self-evident to many who are followers of Jesus, the importance of joy as the foundational means of glorifying God is certainly not so clearly understood by most Christians.
By joy-driven God-centeredness, we mean that the more we are motivated by joy and delight in God, the more He is glorified, exalted, and honored.
Is joy in God really commanded in the Bible?
Throughout the Bible it is clear, both implicitly and explicitly, that God is not pleased with those who obey Him from joyless hearts (Deut. 28:45-47; Ps. 51:16, 17; Is. 29:13). The Bible’s many commands that we respond to God with glad hearts is rooted in this principle (Ps. 68:3; 70:4; 90:14; 97:12; Phil. 4:4). The disposition of our hearts matters greatly to God.
Doesn’t seeking both my joy and God’s glory contradict each other?
Contrary to the Devil’s assertions, God’s glory and our joy do not have to be in conflict. Seeking the greatest joy—joy in God—exalts God’s glory by demonstrating His great worth, value, beauty, and ability to satisfy us above all else this world offers.
Our hope for Neighborhood Church is that we will glorify God through an ever-growing delight in all that He is and does. This in turn, will motivate us to inspire among all peoples an overflowing joy in God through Jesus Christ, which is the mission of our church.