“He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.” — Matthew 10:39.
Waking Up: Now, more than ever we live in a self-centered world. For many, life in modern times consists of a constant bolstering of ego. People are taught to seek a life that is self-help or self-focused. Sadly, this trend has crept into the church and many now preach a self-centered Gospel rather than the truth of what will truly set people free — In losing your life you shall find it. God has not called the church to worldly pleasures, dreams of riches or supernatural blessings for our own gain. When we seek gain for our own delusions of self-importance we run contrary to what the Bible teaches. “And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. ‘For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself?’” — Luke 9:23-25. If we truly want to follow Jesus it requires that we give up our self-interest. For many, this is a terrifying leap of faith, as it was for the rich man when he spoke to Jesus (Mark 10:21-22). But to the bold, who are willing to lay down their life, they will experience a new way in Him. The church must awake from its slumber and turn away from self-interest and self-help gospel. We must take up our cross and follow Christ.
Ego Trip: Ego from the Latin root means “I” and it is defined as a person’s sense of self-importance. Most people view egotism in a negative light, yet there are many other ways ego shows up without being called “ego”. For example, people who are overly confident, full of pride, hateful, quick to anger, arrogant, et cetera. These people are all suffering from an inflated sense of self-importance — ego. Ego also rears its head in people who blame everyone else for their problems. A person like this becomes so blinded by their own self-importance they cannot see that they themselves might be the cause of the issue. They justify blaming others because their ego cannot suffer an attack. Moreover, our culture today is set up on the basis of ego as a currency. “Look at me” is the underlying creed of the world today. If you are not in the spotlight or living a better life than others, your social value is considered lower. Recently, this was on display in an article that highlighted a popular “photo op” location outside of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The site known as “the cliff” is on a hiking trail where people wait up to six hours in line to take a photo. The catch is the cliff isn’t a cliff at all, but rather a rock that is 3 feet off the ground and completely safe to hold onto, however when the picture is cropped correctly it looks like a person is dangling and taking an extreme risk. It’s false. Yet, because so many feel the need to feed their ego and gain social standing, it’s worth the fakery and a six-hour wait in line. This doesn’t mean all social media is bad and taking a fun picture or a portrait makes you an egomaniac, but when your life revolves around the “look at me” extremes and creates a false-life there is something wrong.
“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE SHOULD BOW, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” — Philippians 2:3-11.
Give and it Shall Be Given: “In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” — Acts 20:35. When you lay down your life it doesn’t mean that you cease to exist, but rather, it means that you truly start to live in a greater way. How much better have you felt when you help someone else rather than do something for yourself? Much better, right? Make this a practice and you will start to escape the trap of self-importance. God calls us to serve, but you must serve with sincerity and love or it is all for not. Serving can be the simplest of things — listen to the brokenhearted, share the Gospel, be kind and see people as God sees them. When you give to others, it will be returned unto you as well. “Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, they will pour into your lap. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.” — Luke 6:38.
To Be or To Do: Many people confuse purpose with becoming a someone, rather than accomplishing something. Your purpose should not be to become an important person. If that is what you want, then that is not a good purpose, but rather a desire to validate your self-importance. A purpose should be to accomplish something, working towards a goal, doing, not seeking self-interest. If you lack purpose, examine yourself and find your way by accomplishing something rather than trying to become an important someone.
Tim and Will