The Bible gives us a vision of heaven:
“And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, ‘To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!’” (Revelation 5:13 ESV)
The Christian life has many aims: joyful living, missional witness, sacrificial giving, living in purity and holiness, loving others, keeping God’s commandments, etc. Yet all of these are but a reflection of our highest duty and joy—worshiping the Lord Jesus as the most beautiful, powerful, and glorious Person, as the Center.
Theologian Jonathan Edwards shows us that to discover our greatest purpose we must look where our faith exists in its highest and purest form, in heaven:
The way to learn the true nature of anything is to go to where that thing is to be found in its purity and perfection. If we would know the nature of true gold we must view it, not in the ore, but when it is refined. If we would learn what true religion is, we must go where there is true religion, and nothing but true religion, and in its highest perfection, without any defect or mixture. —Jonathan Edwards, “The Religious Affections,” 43
Heaven is the place of the truest religion, nothing but true religion, in its perfection, without defect or mixture. In heaven seeing Jesus, singing of His love, and growing in the knowledge of Him is the constant occupation. He is the Center. All else exists to glorify Him as the Lamb who was slain. On earth as in heaven, everything finds its proper place when Jesus is the Center.
And so we pray toward having Jesus exalted here as He is in heaven because we know heaven is the place of our highest happiness. In this life, our eyes are always drawn to lesser glories that tend to serve our name and our renown. So we sing, “Jesus, center my life on Your name,” a cry that remembers the miserable slavery of self-love and begs God to turn us from the lesser lights of success, beauty, wealth, fame, comfort, and fleeting happiness.
We sing “Center My Life” to recall that salvation came to us when we were blind to the light of the gospel. We were chasing the lure of sin and abandoning our true Treasure when God powerfully shone in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
At the moment of our salvation God pulled out our dead, stony, disobedient hearts and gave us resurrected hearts that are alive, tender, and engraved with His ways. And yet even in this new life we wander, we forget, we willfully turn and run from our Savior, and so we beg Him to renew our affections for His name.
We cry out, “Come God, do it again! Turn my eyes! Tune and teach my heart! Give me a glimpse of Jesus so that I may take up the occupation of heaven here on earth. Center my life on the exalted Jesus, His beauty, His power, so that everything else may find its proper place. Center my life on Your name.”