It was a blessing to attend the Global Leadership Summit in Bristol, a video-cast of speakers sharing their experience on different aspects of leadership. It was a day out for me away from my son for a whole day for the first time too which was bittersweet! I wrote down notes and was blessed by those that attended with me, but something was put on my heart that day that I continue to think about.
There was a fairly large wooden cross to the left of the church where the conference was held. It was not in a particularly prominent position, but my gaze kept looking that way. With all the modern technology, the platform, the lighting, the comfort of being free to worship, I kept thinking this:
Keep Christ at the centre.
It’s so easy with all of the distractions, differences and diversity of the world to sideline the power of the cross, resurrection and Jesus Himself. Unintentionally I choose to place my own desires before yielding to the Lord who knows me and loves me, who died for me and rose again, bringing me into God’s presence for always.
In each moment, I long to place Christ at the centre of my heart and mind. The centre of my serving. The centre of my living. The centre of every aspect of my life. But not just the centre. God is behind me, before me and all around. As a Christian, by His Holy Spirit, the Lord is within me. I pray that I will be so aware of His presence that I will no longer drift to the left or the right, but keep centred on Christ on His unique path for me. If I do drift, I know that the Lord will gently lead me and centre me once again.
I remember once when I was travelling in the USA, I was camping in California and it was really windy and snowy at night. The inevitable happened and I needed the loo. The portaloo was about a 5 minute walk away but luckily there were another couple of campers who needed to go. I had my head torch on and we all trekked in the blowy, snowy night. However, on the way back my fellow campers began to pick up the pace as the weather got worse. The snow and wind were hammering against us and I almost lost sight of them. At one point I thought I was on my own. However, I stuck to the trail and I could just about hear and see them. It was pretty scary. I knew that if I stuck to the trail and followed the sight and sound of the familiar, I would be OK.
That’s how I feel with God.
He isn’t putting restrictions or rules in my life to ruin my life. Because of Christ, I have true freedom and following Him is like sticking to the trail when all of the harshest and darkest moments of life descend. Suffering, pain, frustration, temptation and more can come at me from all sides like a blizzard trying to knock me off my feet and disorientate me.
Moments in life can feel like the contents found at the bottom of a portaloo at times. That’s a polite way of saying it. However we were never meant to stay in the portaloo – they are a temporary measure after all. We were made to live an abundant life, fulfilled in knowing who He is and who we are in Him and preparing for an eternity with our risen King – the living God! We need to step out of the portaloo, face the blizzard and follow the trail before us.
‘A thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.’ John 10:10
At times I might feel like I am alone, but the Lord is always there – His Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path (Psalm 119:105). As I walk through each day, I know that I do not need to face the day with all of its unpredictability in fear. I can be confident and trust that when I keep my eyes on Jesus, He is faithful to lead me all the days of my life, no matter what comes my way.
‘Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3