Calling our church “Christ-centered” sounds like a pretty audacious claim. Do we actually measure up?
“Christ-centered” is easier said than done. We know we’re not there yet. We learn in Hebrews 1:3 that Jesus Christ is “the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature.” God created mankind to reflect his image, but we’ve all failed. We’ve actually reflected a distorted image of God. Only when God himself entered humanity in the person of Jesus did a man—the God-man—perfectly display the image of God. Though we aspire to put on Christ-likeness, we still fall far short of his glory. We look forward to the day when we see him face to face, and we’re changed fully into his image.
Though we aspire to grow in Christ-centeredness, we know we can’t do that on our own. Jesus isn’t just a perfect example for us. He actually achieves our standing with God and sustains us through our lives. We “run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2-3). We don’t depend on the work we’re doing, but on what he’s already done, and on what he continues to do in us.
Being Christ-centered means we’re not satisfied with the way things are right now. We hope—and by hope we don’t mean an uncertain wish, but a confident expectation. We hope in a future that Jesus Christ secures for us. We have confidence to enter God’s holy presence, grasping firmly “the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23). God makes promises. And he invites us to believe those promises. In Christ, all those promises are fulfilled (2 Corinthians 1:20).
Christ-centeredness isn’t ultimately about us! No doubt, we share in the benefits of his victory over sin and death, but what we receive stirs us to joyful praise—to declare the truth that he deserves all the credit. Jesus suffered outside the city gates for us, so we go to him outside the camp to share in his reproach, and to give him the worship he deserves. “Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name” (Hebrews 13:12-16).
So as it turns out, being Christ-centered begins with recognizing that we really aren’t—at least not yet. Being Christ-centered means that we believe Jesus has secured for us a future in which we’re like him, and with him. It means we’re both humble and confident. It means we know that one day we’ll be at the epicenter of majesty and glory beyond our comprehension, but it’ll all belong to him. That hope is enough to sustain us right now. And it’ll satisfy us forever.