Some recent events, parenting among them, have made me contemplate the nature of the selfish natures that each of us struggle with. Today, I was brought face to face with a surprising and disappointing display of the same spirit in another aspect of my life. They say the ones that you love tend to hurt you the most, so I suppose that while the surprise should be minimal, the shock factor never will be when the certainties of life ring true in the local church.
Since confession is good for the soul, I will tell you this. My initial reaction was anger, quickly swallowed up by a rising tide of disappointment, that quickly became despair. You see, there are times when it seems that the merry band of devil fighters that I am privileged to be part of seems bent of destroying itself, ripping apart the Body of Christ from the inside out.
Now, before you start jumping to conclusions and trying to construct the scenario that I am describing, I will save you the time. It does not matter.
The specifics rarely do. It is the root of the problem that I fear, and I think with good reason.
It was an epiphany, really, the kind that comes to you like a flash of lightning on a sticky summer day. The problem was suddenly clear. You see, the issue, whether it’s Lego blocks or church relationships boils down to this: “did I get my own way”?
That was a truly frightening moment- realizing that one of the greatest danger in the church lead by the Resurrected Messiah who calls us to die to self, is our fixation on living for self. When we do this, we make the words of Phillipians 2:1-11 to be a lie.
And if part of the book is treated as a lie, then none of it matters. If none of it matters, then you need to quickly fix the disconnect between your confession and your profession, or your walk and your talk.
If the words of Paul when he writes: “3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. ” aren’t part of the gauge that you use when you consider the implications of your decisions on the other members of the body of Christ,we have a problem.
Like I tell my children when this happens, rather than pointing your finger accusingly at someone as the problem when you want something that others don’t, or vice versa- rather then the pointing finger of condemnation you need the mirror of self inspection.
After all, it’s not the people around you that you should be living for, the goal needs to be to be found “approved by God”
What’s your decision factor?