The Self-Centered Christian
When Adam and Eve ate of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, humankind was granted SELF AWARENESS (which is one of the reasons they had to hide in the bushes from God after realizing they were naked). Self-awareness was given to us because with the knowledge of Good and Evil, we now became aware that we had a choice between doing what is good and doing what is evil. The choice to serve God or serve ourselves. Free Will.
We are all born self-centered and selfish. Each of us has only one body and one brain and we barely have enough capacity, ability and love for what affects us directly. We are captives to ourselves. None of us really understands what makes another person tick. We don't know anyone else's thought process and we cannot feel anyone else's feelings, but we know how we feel, what we think and what we want. To us, we are the most important thing in the world. We are the center of our own universe.
No one else (aside from our mothers) is going to follow us around and care for our needs, so we fend for ourselves every step of our lives. Looking after our self is all we know. When things don't go our way, we become frustrated and always seek to manipulate situations back to us. We have learned that we must take our piece of the pie or we will be empty handed.
We have also learned that there is power in numbers, so we find others who also want what we want and group together so we can better attain our goals. In our world, we have rich and poor, black and white, gay and straight, saved and unsaved and most of us agree that we have to negotiate, share and work together to make sure everyone is happy and everyone's needs are considered.
But we also have people, groups and nations who care only for themselves and would rather take what they think belongs to them instead of considering others. This is why the country and world has struggled since the beginning. All the conflicts of the world involve one group of people who don't care about another group of people. This is why there will always be struggles of poverty and homelessness. Cultural, sexual, racial, political, ethnic and religious wars will always make up our daily news and the aged, the sick and the next generation of people...will suffer from today's self centered world policies, decisions and actions...all supported by us.
What do all criminals have in common? They will do whatever it takes to get what they want. Selfishness is behind every sinful act including lying, cheating, fighting, adultery, abuse, theft, rape, revenge and murder.
Because we only focus on ourselves, we have very little empathy, concern, patience or understanding for those who are outside of our circle and we search for reasons to dismiss, judge and close our hearts to them to justify our behavior.
This is how the world operates and Christians SHOULD be different, but in actuality we are not that far behind.
The sin of Adam and Eve was going their own way and each Christian's struggle is whether to follow our own way or God's way. Many of us became Christians to save ourselves to avoid hell and go to heaven. It wasn't for the love of God or the desire to help the world that motivated us to seek God, but only to save our own skin.
So right off the bat, many Christians became followers for self-preservation. Even as Christians, we think about ourselves first and God second. Though we do so little for Him, we expect Him to answer our prayers and give us more stuff.
When searching for a church, instead of finding one that centers on Jesus and bringing His love and salvation to the world, we scrutinize the music, the service or whether the members are candidates for possible friendships or dating.
What we "get out of it" influences everything we do.
There are plenty of priests, pastors and ministers who should be serving God and His people in humbleness and sacrifice, but instead play church using their position to move up the church corporate ladder increasing for themselves political power, approval and influence. They are not serving God they are serving themselves. Their righteousness is a show and their egos bigger than some CEOs.
So many churches teach that God came to give us "ABUNDANT LIFE" so we pray to God for blessings, happiness and security using our faith to CLAIM more of everything. We love that God will bless us with more money, a big house and a successful career; never mind that Jesus really meant an abundant life of love, joy and peace through service and fellowship with God.
Our narcissistic selves believe that God approves of us and not our enemies. We believe we know the truth while others do not. Funny how each denomination, church and Christian thinks that.
Though the world today is in turmoil with hunger, homelessness, injustice, corruption, wars and violence, so many Christians do not participate in helping because it interferes with our comfort level, identity, schedule and free time. Our selfishness is what keeps us from reaching out, doing things voluntarily or going the extra mile. We're just too busy...with ourselves.
Though we believe we are faithful servants of Christ. We are really just faithful servants to ourselves. We are stuck in the BABY CHRISTIAN STAGE and unfortunately, that is as far as most Christians will ever get.
Of course, there are and will always be periods in our life when we need to focus on ourselves for learning, spiritual direction, healing and understanding, but maturing in Christ means we need to look beyond ourselves and do what God wants for us do: Live out His Commandments:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 'This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” -Matthew 22: 37-40
Now this is tough because it means shifting our self-obsessed minds away from us and toward God and our neighbors. It means spending time with God to get to know Him, learning His ways and then acting on what we have learned. Some of us have no problem loving God.
But dealing with God's people is another story because it means befriending them, shouldering their burdens, and helping them just as Jesus did for us. But how can we handle someone else's life when it is beyond our capacity to care for those who will not benefit us in some way? Caring for others? But that takes up our time and interferes with our self-centeredness!
Being a disciple of Christ is NOT about you or what you will get out of it. It is about God. It is about other people. You are LAST. Listen up again. It is NOT ABOUT YOU.
Jesus said that to follow God, we must become as a servant. Yes, we must serve God and serve others...not ourselves. During His time on earth, Jesus told us to do as He does. And what did He do? He set Himself aside and became a servant to all. He fed the hungry, He healed the sick and He forgave the unforgiven. He loved. He was humble and never took credit for anything but gave glory to God. He served the world up until His death doing God's will, and not His own.
“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” - Luke 22:42
You see it is the SELF that is the OBSTACLE to a true relationship with God. God cannot use us until we get passed ourselves and let go of the world and lose our life for Him.
Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.”- Mark 9:35
“Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.”- Luke 9:23-24
Dying to self also means starting anew.
Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again!”- John 3: 3
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” - 2 Corinthians 5:17
We must surrender our egos of self-importance and stop worshiping and serving our favorite idol: OURSELVES. We must step off the pedestal and put God back up where He belongs to serve Him again. All that energy we spend loving our self now has to be channeled to loving Him and loving others.
Focusing on God means we fall into the background. We are no longer center stage and Jesus asks us to love others with the same fervor that we love ourselves.
As Jesus said, “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” -Matthew 7:12
Search for those who are hurting, start getting involved, volunteer, share, contribute, join, help, give instead of always wanting to get. Stop thinking about how things will affect, hurt or benefit you somehow. And start to consider blessing others.
But how can we love anyone else if we don't have it in us?
Once we submit completely to God and empty ourselves, kicking out our egos, then there will be room for God to breathe into us His Holy Spirit who will fill us with His love so we will wake up and understand what the Kingdom of God is all about: His Love.
“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” - 1 John 4:8
© 2014, 2015 Edrick
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