One of the best definitions of intercession I have heard goes something like this:
“Intercession is not about defeating the devil in a particular battle; it is about getting into the face of God, with the defeat of the devil as the by-product.”
Reading the many accounts of Jesus’ ministry to desperate people reveals something wonderful about God’s character. It seems that the more irreverent and noisy, and the more into Jesus’ face and space someone was, the more Jesus liked it. He even went so far as to touch a leper before He had healed him. Yuck! (Mark 1:40-45)
What a wonderful Lord we serve, who beckons society’s “lepers” to come to Him, and get into God’s face and be redeemed!
My question is, how centered on God can you get?
Centered Like Clay
The term “centered” means different things to people of different backgrounds. From doctors setting bones to machinists working on a lathe, being centered and focused is critical to the success of any endeavor. I want to look at two Old Testament passages in reference to being centered in God:
“Arise and go down to the potter’s house and there I will announce My words to you.” Jeremiah 18:2
“But now, O Lord, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand.” Isaiah 64:8
Both these passages refer to us being like clay and God as the potter. The little bit of pottery I did in high school taught me two important life-enhancing lessons:
- If you want to make something on a potter’s wheel, the clay must be centered.
- If your clay is not centered properly, it lands on the wall, and sticks really well!
If we are like clay, it is imperative that we stay focused and centered on Him; better that than being splattered all over the walls!
David the Warrior
Let’s look at an Old Testament warrior – King David. David was a complex character who wore many hats: shepherd, king, musician and songwriter, prophet and warrior. David knew what it was to feel out of place. He spent years as a king-in-waiting running for his life from King Saul. David’s own failures and sins at times made him an enemy of his own house and people.
“One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek; That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the Lord, And to meditate in His temple. For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle; In the secret place of His tent He will hide me; He will lift me up on a rock. And now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me, And I will offer in His tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord….When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You, “Your face, O Lord, I shall seek.”…For my father and my mother have forsaken me, But the Lord will take me up.” (Psalm 27:4-6,8,10)
In some ways, this psalm is typical of David’s work. Surrounded by enemies, David cries out for God’s mercy. At times, David must have felt like a leper, a pariah in his own land.
The language here paints a clear mental picture of someone centered on God during a time of great turmoil. David, a warrior, finds himself in the worst position a soldier could be – surrounded by enemies and traitors. But David the shepherd, the worshiper, the prophet, decides to focus on God alone.
David centers on God; not Mom and Dad, not friends, not even his church, but God alone.
A Christian community can be a wonderful support system in a time of need, but it should never be our center. If your Christian support group is what keeps your faith alive, your faith is misplaced, off balance. We are called to a relationship with the Creator of the universe. We are called to be Christ-like, not church-like.
David continually progresses toward the center. It seems that the worse the situation got in the natural, the more he got into God’s face. “…In the secret place of His tent He will hide me…” (Psalm 27:5) David was not content to be religious and just be in God’s neighborhood; he wanted to be in the innermost part of God’s tent, His sanctuary, the Holy of Holies.
God’s response is always the same. To the outcasts, the world’s lepers who center on God, He says come, bring it on. I will never turn you away!
Here is a different way to look at being centered as clay…
As clay which needs to be fashioned or changed by the touch of the master, it is not our job to center ourselves is somehow try to stick to the potter’s wheel. Rather, we need to be the type of clay that has the right amount of water (Holy Spirit) in us so we are not too hard for Jesus to shape or change.
Hoses 10:12 Sow for yourselves righteousness;
Reap in mercy;
Break up your fallow ground,
For it is time to seek the LORD,
Till He comes and rains righteousness on you.
As we seek Him, He will rain on us and change us into His likeness from glory to glory.
2 Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
Our being centered on Jesus in prayer is totally necessary for Him to do the work of changing us!