“He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:17). Just as a wheel finds it shape and strength in its design around the hub, everything that is real finds its being and definition around Jesus.
Our finite little brains tend to think linearly and in terms of efficient outcomes. Like learning the rules to a new game, we strategize about how to play well in this Christian life game. When we pray, we have thought through what is required for a specific outcome and we are asking God to be the supplier of whatever is missing for our outcome to work. So what’s wrong with that? Shouldn’t we pray for God to fill in the missing pieces? Doesn’t He promise to answer when we ask? So why doesn’t He every time? Sometimes it seems He has disappeared. How does this game work?
We often approach God for what He can do to help us efficiently accomplish what we need done. We want things to be “nailed down” and dealt with “once and for all.” He can help us get the loan, or help a child to feel brave. This is true. He can do all these things.
Our independent hearts and minds, however, lead us a place of striving. We strive to hold down the job, the family, all the expectations of living here. We are trying to hold it all together. If we are really honest, we can admit that we view Jesus as one of many options we have to hold our worlds in order. We wonder why the Christian life is so hard and doesn’t always seem to work so well. But what if we are playing the wrong game? What if His blessings come through Him, not from Him? What if we receive His life by being ‘in Him’ rather than near Him?
The way a light does not work until it is plugged in, our Christian lives don’t ‘work’ until we are in Christ. A lamp, sitting next to an outlet, does not light up until it is connected to the source of power. The power of God to transform us does not work because we do what Jesus would do. We must enter a oneness relationship with Him, be in Him, to experience HIm holding all things together in our lives. When we try to access God outside the context of this oneness, we are trying to play a different game.