Geocentric

Written by Gilbert Ackerman

I can be a bit self-centered.

As an introvert I like frequent alone time. As a bachelor I like pizza for dinner three nights a week. As a gamer, I like watching people playing video games at a competitive level (something called eSports, if you didn’t know).

I like being able to do these things on my schedule, and usually this isn’t an issue. In order to be healthy everyone needs to be able to have some ‘me’ time, and American culture today reinforces this concept pretty heavily. Every day on the news or social media outlets, you can find people praising the idea of doing things for ‘themselves’; working out, eating right, reading books, pursuing new forms of education, learning new skills.

These are all great things. We should actively look to do these things to improve ourselves.

However there is a danger within this idea. Hidden beneath is an smooth, slippery slope that can quickly pull us away from God’s plan for our lives.

There’s an old theory about how our universe was set up that’s called the Geocentric Model. Simply put it was the idea that every other star, planet, and celestial body revolves around the Earth. If you ever studied basic science in elementary school, you know that this is a very dated and flawed idea. We have since discovered that the Earth is heliocentric; that we and other planets revolve around the Sun. Furthermore, we have found that our heliocentric Solar System is part of a relatively small galaxy nestled away in the greater macrocosm that is our universe.

All things considered, we are kind of an insignificant planet. While we once thought of ourselves as the center of the universe, we later came to find that we are anything but that.

This is not only true of us as a planet, but us as individuals. This is where the problem lies.

We often think of our lives and ourselves as a geocentric model – we are the centermost thing. However, our lives are actually heliocentric – we revolve around God.

The danger in focusing to much on ‘self’ is that we can quickly lose focus of what really matters. We presume ourselves to be the center of our own lives. Not that caring for ourselves is bad, it is just secondary to what God wants. He often asks us to give up what we prefer for His glory. He often asks me that I give up my alone time where I binge eat pizza and watch eSports so that I can do more important things. God asks us to be heliocentric, and not geocentric.

Jesus is a prime example of a heliocentric attitude. On the night before he was to be crucified, He found Himself alone in a garden, praying. He knew a very painful, very intense death was coming.

Here’s what he prayed in Luke 22:42;

“Father if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”

Let me retype that and underline the most important part for you;

“Father if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”

Jesus was tempted to focus on His own preferences, namely not dying in a violent way!

However.

Jesus’ life was not about himself. His life was about God. He was heliocentric.

He sacrificed his preferences, and was fully submitted to dying on the cross in our place. As a result we have the gift of eternal life with God. We have forgiveness of sins, healing, and restoration. We have something we never could have achieved on our own.

Don’t misunderstand me; having time to focus on things that you like doing is a very good, very God-crafted desire. He hardwired humanity with the desire to explore, play, rest, and grow. What the Devil will try to do is take that good desire and twist it. He will tempt you to focus so much on yourself that your are numb to the needs of others around you. Which being in modern day America is pretty easy trap to fall into.

God wants to speak to you about the need for water wells in Africa.
God wants to speak to you about girls being sex trafficked in India.
God wants to speak to you about the billions of people who’ve never heard the Gospel.
God wants to speak to you about being used as a conduit of His healing power.

But this can all be numbed away like novocaine if you become focused on what you want with your life.

Here’s the bottom line of it all.

Your life is not about you.

God calls us to sacrifice so that the world can be changed. God will call you to give up money, time, energy, and sleep so that broken-hearted people can understand His goodness.

I’m not saying don’t do anything fun. I’m not saying don’t have time to disengage from the hecticness around you, and relax. Jesus did that often in Scripture.

What I am saying is don’t get lost in that desire. Don’t be afraid to sacrifice personal preferences for God.

Because at the end of it all, we don’t matter that much.

What matters most is God.

Gilbert Ackerman works in the kids ministry department at the Deer Lakes Campus of Allison Park Church. When he’s not working, he enjoys researching personality assessments, reading fantasy books, and playing video games