Staying Centered

Text: Luke 5:15-16
But now more than ever the word about Jesus spread abroad; many crowds would gather to hear him and to be cured of their diseases.  But he would withdraw to deserted places and pray. (NRSV)

Jesus is “choosing” to demonstrate the power of healing that he has (see verse 14).  As he heals, his fame begins to spread far and wide.  He is no longer just a local wonder who preaches the word of God as one with authority or a wandering rabbi with a small band of former fishermen as his students.  Jesus' fame is beginning to spread outside of Judea.

Have you ever noticed that when things are going really well for people, it is at that moment they are most vulnerable?  How many stories have you heard of people who reach fame and fortune only to see their lives unravel?  I’m reminded of stories like those about Tiger Woods, Lindsay Lohan, Charlie Sheen, Jim Bakker, and countless others.

Perhaps when things are going well, we let our guard down.  Or perhaps we believe that we are successful by our own power and abilities and don’t need any outside help.  I believe that the more successful we become by worldly standards, the easier it is to lose our centers.  For me, our centers are the core beliefs that make us who we are.  They are the things that we hold as non-negotiable and by which we make our decisions as we move through life.  When we lose our centers, we lose the ability to make the right decisions when facing choices that present themselves to us.

Jesus’ response to his fame was to withdraw to a deserted place and pray.  This is how Jesus kept himself centered.  He did not let his fame act as a wedge between him and the Father.  He always kept his center—his core beliefs in the forefront of his mind.

Do I only go to God when I need something from God?  Do I only go to God when my life is a struggle?  Do I only go to God when I have already lost control?  Or do I keep myself centered by remembering to spend quality time with God when things are running smoothly, and things are good?

Pray with me:

God of love and God of celebration help me to always center my life around you; not just when I have times of trouble and needs, but also when I am celebrating the good days.  AMEN.

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