It’s Not All About Me, or Is It?
“What am I supposed to do with my life?” “What am I here for?” and my favorite, “Isn’t there more to life than this?” …these are some of the nagging questions that rise up within our minds as we pursue fulfilling our human desire to live a meaningful life. The world promotes “It’s all about me!” and to live fully means more stuff, experiences, money, freedom…. Yet, for many of us, the questions return as we realize the insufficiency of all of this. Seeking alternatives, we read book after book, ask others, search the web, pursue religion… where is the “holy grail”, the path to freedom and fulfillment? Soon we discover that we are to serve others. The Apostle Paul said:
“For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. 14 For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
– Galatians 5:13-14 (NLT)
We decide, “It’s not all about me!” Latching on to this we begin to serve others. Pouring ourselves out to save the world, we start to believe we have found the secret. Make plans, set goals, pursue! We think this will bring the desired sense of fulfillment and freedom. The answer is “Do”.
“No!” some say, the answer is “Be”. Doing is inauthentic, too structured. We are to be real, vulnerable, Christ followers living in the present. Caring, loving, where we are. We’re convinced this is the path to fulfillment…we are to “Be”.
Maybe both “Do” and “Be” will lead us there? Without question there is good in “Doing and Being”. Would I even know Christ if someone before me had not been “doing” or “being”? Clearly, we are to serve others, share the gospel, help them in any way possible. Jesus affirmed the importance of this when he said right before his ascension:
“…… ‘I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”’
– Matthew 28:18-20 (NLT)
“It’s not all about me!” makes sense. So, we work hard to discipline ourselves to stay focused on others…only to find our minds thinking again about – ourselves! Pride rises as we think about all we have done. Serving flips to self-serving.
Why does it come back to being “It’s all about me!”?
Then we think, perhaps it’s not about me, “It’s all about Christ”. Who could argue with this? Are we not to make Jesus the center of our lives, worshiping him? Absolutely! We praise him for who he is, for what he’s done for us and the good in our lives. We pray and ask him for help when we are challenged. Yet, so easily we drift toward asking him to bless our plans when we want something and complain when we don’t get it. Things become “It’s all about me!” – again!
I have been down these paths many times and it always seems to circle back to me. I wonder, could the answer actually be “It’s all about me!”? Perhaps so…in a twisted way.
Unlike the world’s message, it’s not about what we get from the world. Ecclesiastes makes it clear that everything under the sun is meaningless (as fantastic as much of it is). It’s also not a matter of self-serving masked as serving others. The Bible is clear that we are to serve others but, here’s the twist. Paul stated in Galatians, we are “to serve one another in love”. Noble, but who do you really love most? Think about it…. our behavior says it all.
God knows that we love ourselves more than anything else; our sin nature creates tremendous self-love.
Once saved, he moves to fulfill his ultimate desire for us – Oneness. He wants us to become more like Christ, truly righteous and holy. This can only happen by stripping us of our self-love.
Paul says this:
“Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, 22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.
– Ephesians 4:21-24 (NLT)
Serving, giving, relational challenges, sickness, events, etc. all lead us back to ourselves, to challenge what we believe. It is “It’s all about me!” after all, and with good purpose; to grow us up to be truly righteous and holy. The process is ironically useful, not to be misunderstood. Whenever we find our thoughts drifting back to self, a battlefront is exposed. What are we hanging onto? What do we think is so important? We should be asking this question:
“God, what is it that I need to surrender?”
We are reluctant of course, and this causes pain; failing to release leads to a painful fight. I have many memories of such fights. If only past fights made it easier! Victory comes when we take a fresh step toward God. James said:
“So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. 9 Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.”
– James 4:7-10 (NLT)
We need Intimacy with God to initiate the surrender our self-love piece by piece.
Painful but liberating. When we finally accept the truth of God’s promises, we are set free. Fortunately, good news is slipped into the last verse of Matthew. Jesus said: “And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” We are not asked to fight alone.
Is it time for you to move toward Oneness by taking a step closer to God? The Mission Curve™ process leads you there. Let’s talk.
Go to www.bobblackcoaching.com to schedule a free consultation.