Next Wednesday, I’m teaching our high school students at our church on being others-centered. As I am starting to prepare for this message, I can’t help restructure my thinking to look like this:
We must be Christ-centered, not others-centered. We must be others-oriented, not self-oriented.
The problem with being others-centered is that this can lead to idolatry of people. If we center our thoughts, actions, and words around a person, we will inevitably do things simply to please them or to earn their praise. The world does this every minute of the day. If we become people-centered people, we will seek to (even unknowingly) glorify them.
On the other hand, if we are Christ-centered, we will do everything for his glory — and not to please people or be praised by them. When Christ is the blazing center of our lives we will be able to orient our efforts, resources, attitudes, actions, and thoughts toward others because we will want them to know him.
If Christ is our center and foundation, we will be able to do what the Apostle Paul called us to do: “In humility count others more significant than yourselves.” And the ultimate goal of this humility is God’s glory: “Therefore God has highly exalted [Christ] and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Phil. 2:3, 9-11).