Christ-Centered Life | 2

Dr. John Woodward



Be ontologically Christ-centered. The Spirit of Christ can be in you (John 1:12; Col. 1:27) – part 1


Now consider another dimension of being “Christ-centered.”


2. Be experientially Christ-centered. The Spirit of Christ can be expressed in and through you.


Being Christ-centered in experience goes beyond one’s state of being regenerated and justified (Rom. 5:1; Titus 3:5). These blessings do not guarantee that we are living according to God’s priorities and power. The revelation and reckoning of our oneness with Christ involves being convicted of the weakness and futility of our living out of “the flesh,” followed by Holy Spirit-enabled steps of faith (Rom. 6:10,11). We are to depend upon Christ as the basis of our new identity and source of dynamic living.


Paul confessed this experiential aspect of Christ-centeredness in Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Regrettably, only a minority of us can say like Paul, “For me, to live is Christ” (Phil. 1:21).


So, being “Christ-centered” is not only an ontological statement (“Christ is in me”), but a functional commitment (“for me, to live is Christ”).


This being the case, what are the conditions of experiencing Christ-centered living in our soul and behavior? Although the full answer is contained throughout the New Testament, two responses are fundamental:


  • yielding to God, and

  • trusting in Christ’s indwelling life.


The life Christ lives through His people today has these same qualities that He demonstrated during His earthly ministry.[2]


Let’s take a closer look at these conditions of being experientially Christ-centered.


A. Yielding


The Lord Jesus always yielded to the Father. He was totally, consistently, and perfectly in harmony with the Father’s will. Jesus testified,


  • “And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.”

  • “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work” (John 8:29; 4:34).


So, it shouldn’t surprise us that Christ-centered living is not just a doctrine or theory to enhance our self-fulfillment; it is the God-designed way of living.


We are summoned today to this same quality of surrender: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Rom. 12:1, 2).


Yielding to God’s good will flows from this wholehearted commitment, but is ratified daily: “Then He said to them all, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me'” (Luke 9:23). Therefore, functional Christ-centered living is impossible if self-will is reigning in your life.


B. Trusting


The second basic condition for being rightly centered is faith. As the Son of Man, Christ also modeled faith in the enabling of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 3:16; 12:28; Luke 4:18; John 3:34). Likewise, trust in Christ to live His life in and through you. Remember again Paul’s testimony: “… and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God…” [3]


The step of “reckoning,” prescribed in Romans 6:10,11, is personally to believe in your identification with Christ. The old you in Adam was crucified and buried with Christ; the new you, joined to Christ’s eternal life, is raised with Him and even enthroned with Him! (Eph. 2:4-7; Col. 3:1-4).


Just as yielding is an initial and daily process, so faith is an appropriation step as well as choice of daily dependence. This relationship is pictured in the vine and branches passage (John 15:1-8). Since the branch is organically united with the vine, the branch depends on the life of the vine to produce the fruit. Jesus declared, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).