Monday, June 07, 2004

Too Much Focus On "Me"

I read a quote the other day and used it in yesterday's sermons:

When Buddha was dying, his disciples asked how they could best remember him. He told them not to bother; it was his teaching, not his person, that counted. With Jesus it is altogether different. Everything centers around him, his person. Discipleship means knowing him, loving him, believing in him, being committed to him.
Watson, David,1982. Called and Committed:World-Changing Discipleship, Harold Shaw
Publishers, Wheaton, Illinois, p9

When you put that quote together with the first couple of verses from Hebrews 12, it helps us understand one of the truly great problems of today's church. Too much emphasis on "me."

Hebrews 12:1-2
1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. NASU

We live in an age in which people are looking for some personal benefit, some immediate positive result before they will get too involved. This is all too true of Christians, their faith, and involvement with "church." The problem? I can think of several, but here are a few.

1. When we make ourselves the standard for life, we turn faith upside down. Our focus is supposed to be on Christ, not ourselves. He is supposed to be our standard, not us. Our desires, thoughts, needs, wants, etc., are not a good basis upon which to build a life. The Lord's will, his teachings, his mission, etc., are much more important.

2. If all we do is seek to satisfy ourselves, we have settled for a very small thing. The Lord's will, his mission, his people, himself -- all these are much greater than ourselves. Why settle for a cause only as big as yourself, when you can live for a cause as big as God, as big as divine will, as big as things eternal?

3. Choosing those things in life that are only "best for me," limits us terribly. What happened to things like sacrifice, love, benevolence, and a host of other ideas that move us beyond "self?" We will never grow, enlarge our borders, become what we've never been unless we stretch beyond ourselves to something outside ourselves, something far greater and grander than ourselves.

4. One of the exciting things about following Jesus as his disciple is that God has always used people smaller than the job called for, to achieve things greater than the world has ever seen. Think Moses, David, Paul, etc. These were men who simply were not satisfied with only themselves.

This is why keeping Jesus as the focus of your life is so important. It's not just his teachings, it's the man, the person of Christ. When you know him as God's Son, as your Savior and your Lord, you realize that the potential, the possibilities, are far greater than anything that exists within just yourself. You are not as great as Jesus, but Jesus offers to live in you and through you and when you allow that to happen you realize you can be so much more.

Too many are trying to get Jesus to bend to their will. We need to stop that and learn to bend to his will. You must get your eyes off of self and onto the Christ. The difference in perspective is amazing as is the result in life.

God bless,
Bill