Living a Christ-centered life is all about being grounded in the most important ways. But before we can talk about the advantages of being grounded or centered in Christ, it will be helpful if we see what life is like without Christ in it.
For illustration purposes I would like you to look at two videos. They are about pottery, but I promise they will have an application to this topic. I just need you to see how they fit in before I go on. I refer to the force of a centrifuge because a centrifuge spins, throwing whatever is in it to the outside. If you spin it fast enough, the materials in the containers that are spinning will begin to separate into their component parts. When you donate blood, for example, it is often spun out or the separate parts of the blood are separated in a centrifuge by spinning the blood at a really high speed.
Centrifugal forces in life
How stable is something that does not have a flat bottom? How stable is something that tilts, even if it is tilted only ever so slightly? If the tilt is small then chances are it will stand on its own just fine. The danger comes if there is a cross breeze that hits it at the wrong angle. The extra pressure pushing it in the direction of its tilt could knock it over. Even a bump on the table or shelf where the object is sitting could knock it over. The point is that being well grounded, i.e. with a flat bottom, makes something more stable.
What if an object has a flat bottom, but is on a spinning disk? If you want to see a good example of what happens to an object that is not centered properly on a spinning disk, look at the video below. You only need to look at the first half of the video to see what happens when their clay is not properly centered on the spinning disk.
Here is a good example of how stable clay is when it is properly centered. Notice as you watch this video how the wobbling all but disappears as she works the clay until it is almost perfectly centered on the disk.
The world is our disk. It spins us around and around. Life is busy, and we have philosophies of men coming at us from different directions trying to pull us off center. As you have seen with the potter’s wheel, if the clay is not centered it flies apart or is ejected from the wheel.
If life is moving slowly for us then, like the object with only a slight tilt or the clay that is a little off center, we can stay grounded just fine. We may wobble a bit, but we aren’t going anywhere. It is when life starts to spin out of control or we are hit by winds of change that push us in the direction of our defective tilt that we have problems. With enough pressure from the outside we will either fall over or fly apart.
Finding center is crucial to being able to stand our ground. In a world where all the definitions are changing on a monthly or even daily basis, being centered is becoming more and more important for our own personal welfare.
Our need to be molded
Mortality is our first experience ever with having a physical body. Our bodies come with their own desires, like and dislikes. Our goal is to learn how to control these bodies and become the kind of people of character that can worthily and comfortably walk back into the presence of God and enjoy His company forever.
This process requires a great deal of help from our Father in Heaven. He gives it by sending us the Holy Ghost to teach us, direct us, and change us in all the ways we each need to be changed so we become the kind of people who will feel comfortable returning to the presence of our Lord.
Isaiah 64:8 says, “But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.” Referring to the Lord’s ability to shape us like a potter does clay, we read this in Jeremiah 18:6, “O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.”
Elder Richard J. Maynes of the Presidency of the Seventy gave a talk on the joy of living a Christ-centered life in the October 2015 General Conference. He spoke about the potter’s wheel and the need for us to become centered through our faith and obedience to Christ.
If our lives are centered in Jesus Christ, He can successfully mold us into who we need to be in order to return to His and Heavenly Father’s presence in the celestial kingdom. The joy we experience in this life will be in direct proportion to how well our lives are centered on the teachings, example, and atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
Our safety increases in direct proportion to the heed we give to the promptings of the Holy Ghost and in how closely we align ourselves with the prophets and apostles. When we live all the commandments we know about, and we are careful to study the scriptures and say our prayers, and do all things that Christ has told us to do through the scriptures and his apostles, we become grounded in our faith in Christ. We begin to become unshakable.
Sources of trial
Not all our trials will come just from outside of the Church. In 2015 the Church clarified its policy on the status of those who participate in gay marriages and on the children of those who live in the homes of those in gay marriages. The difficulty originated in the world because the world changed the definition of what was right and wrong. But the shock wave of that redefinition wasn’t really felt until the Church clarified the Lord’s position on the issue.
Those who had family and friends who were affected by this clarification of policy were faced with the prospect of some of their friends and family having their faith shaken. Some who were tilted too far were knocked off the proverbial shelf by this “bump.” Others who, feeling life spinning out of control and were not centered in Christ felt like life was about to fly apart, like the clay pots.
Trials can come in the form of sickness, unemployment, social unrest, terrorism, conflicting philosophies of men, having a personal crisis of faith, etc. There is only one solution that applies to all of these sources of difficulty in life. That solution is staying close to the commandments of Christ and being obedient to the whispering of the Spirit at all times.
The commandments of God are designed to bring us happiness. The result of obedience to the commandments of God is that we become unshakable. Obedience to the commandments gives us confidence in ourselves and what we can accomplish with the help of the Lord, and it teaches us that we can trust God to be our support no matter what falls apart in our current lives.
Society may crumble, anarchy prevail, people may persecute us for our beliefs, and we may be mocked by the intellectuals of the world. Our morals may be out of step with the rest of the world, and we may look to the world like antiquated simpletons. All this may, and probably will happen, but being centered in Christ, the author of all truth, is the only way to keep from being thrown clear of the wheel when life spins out of control. It is only when we learn to have a solid faith in the Lord’s love for us that we will be able to stand firm and immovable in our knowledge that we are doing what is good and what is right before Him.
As Elder Maynes said in his talk, “like the clay on the potter’s wheel, our lives must be centered with exactness in Christ if we are to find true joy and peace in this life.” That joy is real. That peace calms the soul and allows us to think clearly, even when others are losing their heads over what is happening all around us. Being centered in Christ is like living in the eye of the storm, it is the only place among all the chaos that rages in the world where we can know absolute peace.
Kelly P. Merrill
Kelly Merrill is semi retired and writes for https://gospelstudy.us. He lives with his wife in Idaho. His strength is being able to take difficult to understand subjects and break them down into understandable parts. He delights in writing about the gospel of Christ. Writing about the gospel is his personal missionary work to the members of the Church and to those of other faiths who are wanting to know more about Christ's gospel and His Church.