Wednesday, January 23, 2013

It's All About Him!

As a preacher's kid who has literally grown up in churches all over the tri-state area, I have witnessed lots of events, and been exposed to many people. Each person brings with them their own talents, gifts, personalities, strengths, weaknesses, and peculiarities. My 42 years in ministry have also provided an opportunity to observe human behavior in all types of settings in church life. My experience has brought me to a sad conclusion. Sometimes, the work of the Lord is derailed, not by Satan's full frontal assault, but by the actions and attitudes of those who profess to be God's family. As the old comic strip character, Pogo, once said, "We have met the enemy and he is us!" Seems as though nothing can effectively douse the work of the Holy Spirit in God's Church, more than the culture of "SELF".
This malady is not exclusive to any age group, gender, race, or particular place of service. It is found in men, women, teenagers, and children. It has reared it's ugly head in pastors, evangelists, deacons, teachers, department heads, committee members, youth workers, trustees, and kitchen crews. Unchecked, the philosophy of SELF, will wreck ministries, ruin lives, and cripple the work of a local church. The philosophy of self often starts with the attitude of "Here's the way I see it" and leads to the ever popular, "My way or the highway" mentality. It IS human nature to focus on MY opinions, MY dreams, MY hurts, and MY plans, but it is not a scriptural attitude for the true child of God. What does the BIBLE say about our attitude toward self?

Philippians 2:2-8 says "Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 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. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." (NASB) This passage speaks of Jesus' attitudes of selflessness, humility, and obedience. Aren't you thankful that Jesus emptied himself for us?

Aren't you glad He didn't "demand His rights" and push His personal agenda? Don't you rejoice in the fact that he put our interests ahead of His own? Everything Jesus did pointed to His Father. Every fiber of His being was focused on doing the will of the Father. He prayed in the garden, "Not my will but thine be done", and he exhibited that attitude in all that He did. The scriptures remind us that as His disciples, we are to model the same attitude. That's a tall order - but it is possible. After all, Philippians 4:13 reminds us, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Well meaning people sometimes allow this attitude to slip away and become wrapped up in the culture of self. We all need to be reminded of this from time to time. May God bless us in 2013 to remember this simple truth. It's not about you. It's not about me. It's all about Him!

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