Sunday, July 10, 2011

The "I" in Me

Dying to self seems to be the single most difficult thing to do in life. As a follower of Christ Jesus, my number one mission is to put myself aside and love others in ways that give only God the glory. But the truth is--putting myself aside is not an easy task. On any given day, things can be going perfectly well and I find some way to wedge my own needs and thoughts into a situation, thus ruining everything in MY own selfish way.

Think about it--if we are to carry out the commands of Christ, we have to pull our own selfish thoughts and desires out of the mix period. Even as I seek to do what's good in the sight of God, the number one thing that keeps me from following through is ME, myself and I. I have my own thoughts and my own "needs" but mostly these things are just desires since He's already given me what I need, if I will receive it.

Times when I put me aside, without selfish motives are the times He uses to benefit others as well as me the most. Isn't it amazing that when we do focus away from ourselves, he not only uses us but also blesses us the most? It goes against everything we as people are programmed to think. But then again, so do all of the other ideas and concepts that He teaches us through His word.

As believers, we are supposed to let our lights shine, but the ways in which we shine are those ways we love others no matter what they've done or who they may be. We have a duty to God to love anyone who may be hurting. We have a duty to love our spouses, kids, friends and family as well but it all requires us to put ourselves aside and love them in a godly way. How can we help someone through a hard time when all we're thinking about is ME ME ME? It's really hard to love someone in a godly way if you're always looking out for you. I find that I wedge myself into the slightest situation, no matter the topic, and everything pretty much goes sour from there. The entire point is lost once I involve ME.

God's word describes love quite differently from how we humans tend to look at it.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 1 Cor. 13:4
All these years I've been programmed to think that I have to insert Me into everything. This selfish mindset done nothing but set in motion more bad habits that need to be broken. I think to some extent or another we all struggle with the balance of "I" and our culture isn't helping matters by encouraging us to focus on our selves. But no matter what our culture says, Our God has spoken. He requires certain things of us if we do in fact believe in Him. It's assumed that we'll trip and fall alot because we in the flesh are like babies spiritually.  Eventually babies grow and have to learn the hard knocks of life, although hopefully not all of them will come the hard way.

In the Christian life, it's understood that we have to be broken. Spiritual growth begins with brokenness. Brokenness is nothing more than accepting that it's not about us, that we're going to fail and that we can only get it right if we involve Him in out lives. Our brokenness is intended to lead to a mindset change--and that's exactly where we learn to change our focus from "I" to "Him". It's been my experience that I have to practice something a thousand times more or less before it starts to come natural. Since there is so much "I" in me, I can't turn  my focus or the old habit creeps back in.

He loves a broken spirit because this is one who isn't proud. If I'm not broken, I'm working on my own and taking full credit throughout the way. If I'm not broken, I'm not able to love others, especially those who aren't like me. Furthermore, if I'm not broken, my focus is off. I'm looking at it me and not at Him. During these times, I'm more likely to have more I's in me

I pray that He will continue to renew my mind and my heart, which  will in turn help me to focus on Him and forget about me more each day. This way, I can love those I'm meant to love more effectively.

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