How to Find Your Place in Jesus’ Great Story
- Whitney Hopler Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2014 5 May
Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Charles and Janet Morris’ new book Missing Jesus: Find Your Life in His Great Story (Moody Publishers, 2014).
It’s possible to believe strongly in Jesus yet lose sight of him in daily life. All too often, believers settle for lives that are far less than the best they could be living because they’ve put themselves, rather than Jesus, at the center of their lives.
Revolving each part of your life around Jesus will help you discover the purpose for your life and empower you to fulfill it. Instead of wasting your time and energy on lesser, self-absorbed pursuits, you’ll be able to find your place in the great story that Jesus is writing in the world. Here’s how you can do so:
Recognize who is worthy of your life. Living your life according to your own agenda only leads to a small life, but living your life according to Jesus’ plans for you will liberate you to pursue a life that reflects the grandeur of his glory. Ask the Holy Spirit to enlarge your perspective on life each day by reminding you of how awesome Jesus is so you can see that Jesus is truly worthy of your life. Choose to dedicate your life completely to Jesus from this point on.
Learn about Jesus’ story from the Bible. Make time frequently to read, study, and reflect on the Bible so you can absorb its truths deeply into your soul and apply them to your daily decisions. Keep in mind that the Bible is all about Jesus, with every book of both the Old Testament and New Testament ultimately pointing to Jesus and his great redemptive work in the world. Pray for the ability to see this great story running through the Bible from beginning to end. Consider how everything you read in the Bible relates to Jesus; doing so will help you avoid missing the full meaning of each passage. Every day, counter the many cultural messages you hear about living a self-centered life with the Bible’s message about being a part of Jesus’ great story.
Join Jesus in the work he’s doing in the world right now. Keep in mind that Jesus isn’t just a historical figure; he is a living being who is active right now guiding and empowering Christians to join his work bringing compassion and hope to hurting people and justice to unjust situations in this fallen world. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you fresh doses of faith to help you notice where Jesus is at work around you. Pray for guidance to know which specific ways you can join in that work. Then be willing to sacrifice anything that stands in the way of following Jesus so you can maximize your contributions to the story he is writing in the world.
Relax in your relationship with Jesus. Rest assured that you can count on the grace Jesus gives you to help you in any situation. Derive confidence from the truth that Jesus never expects you to earn his love through doing good, and that nothing bad you do can cause you to lose Jesus’ unconditional and complete love for you. When you see that Jesus has provided everything you need, you can swing the totality of your being off yourself and onto him and embrace your core identity as one of God’s beloved children.
Pray to God with confidence in the father/child relationship that Jesus has made possible for you. If you’re a Christian, thanks to Jesus connecting you to God the Father, you can enjoy an intimate prayer relationship with God. Feel free to talk to God simply – as a child would – and listen for his loving messages to you. Trust that God is taking care of you with strong fatherly love. Ask God for whatever you need and desire, expecting that he will respond to your prayers by doing what’s best for you.
Rely on Jesus’ righteousness working through you. Avoid falling into the sin of self-righteousness by humbling yourself before Jesus in prayer regularly and reminding yourself that the only way you can be holy is with Jesus’ help. Watch out for pride, which can creep into your life whenever you conquer some sin and respond to that victory by congratulating yourself instead of thanking God. Confess and repent of pride whenever you recognize it in your life.
Keep in step with Jesus. As you walk with Jesus through each day, pay close attention to how he leads you so you don’t lose sight of him and become distant from him. Depend on Jesus to give you the strength you need to overcome your weaknesses and the love you need to overcome selfishness, so you can end up where Jesus wants you to end up in life.
Base your identity on your relationship with Jesus. While you may associate yourself with many different types of groups – from your political affiliation to your ethnicity – you shouldn’t base your identity on any of those because they don’t reflect the full reality of who you are. Instead, base your identity on your relationship with Jesus, and prioritize all of your decisions in light of your true identity. Rather than focusing on issues that divide you and your fellow Christians, focus on the unity you have with them based on your common identities as members of the same spiritual family.
Stay away from idols that distract you from Jesus. Anything that, or anyone who, steals your heart away from Jesus as your primary object of devotion is an idol. Honestly consider whether you may have an idol in your life that you’re devoting more time and energy to than Jesus, such as: your job, a romantic relationship, parenting, or anything else that you pay more attention to than Jesus on a daily basis. Then make whatever changes the Holy Spirit leads you to make so that Jesus gets the best of you each day and the rest of your life falls into a healthy balance. Ask Jesus to transform your desires into his desires for you.
Live with heaven in mind. Invest your life in what has eternal value, looking ahead to the legacy you want to leave after you go to heaven to be with Jesus.
Charles and Janet Morris minister together through the popular (500,000 listeners) HAVEN Today radio program – Charles as host, Janet as writer. They live in Southern California and have three children and three grandchildren. The Morrises are coauthors of Jesus in the Midst of Success and Saving a Life.
Whitney Hopler, who has served as a Crosswalk.com contributing writer for many years, is author of the Christian novel Dream Factory, which is set during Hollywood's golden age. Her Twitter handle is @WhitneyHopler.
Publication date: May 21, 2014