“Putting ourselves first doesn’t come naturally,” a glossy magazine lay open on my lap.
I said aloud to absolutely no one, “Well that’s a bunch of bologna.”
The article continued in the same vain and I understood a bit of where it was coming from, but really didn’t like where it headed. Filled with suggestions on how to put myself first, how to be strong, and the assurance that “I’ve got this, girl,” seemed to put truth far in the opposite direction.
Why are we so eager to embrace the lie that a “selfish life is a happy life?”
Its voice is loud and quite reasonable, yet subtle as the whisper of a snake in the garden. “Did God really say?”
Satan’s fall came because he wanted to make himself like God. (Isaiah 14:12-15)
Isn’t that the crux of sin? Is it not holding my will, an act, a thought, a desire in my tight little fist, holding it up high and claiming it equal with God’s will, thoughts and desires?
“Give it to Mommy.” I remember my tiny daughter’s little fingers squeezing a penny like a beggar would his last meal. I remember the dare in her eyes, cause at that moment, there was nothing she wanted more than to put it in her mouth and swallow. And in fact, she did before my dive rescued it.
So let’s say, where it ended up is a great example of the result of sin’s delicacies.
Self comes far too naturally in my life according to God’s Word. Nurturing it with the water of world’s teaching sprouts some crazy weeds with roots confused and distorted. I find the balance threatened and shift inside of me when I listen more to expert’s opinions than to God’s Word.
John the Baptist’s disciples found the increasing fame of Jesus unsettling. With today’s characteristic bravado they approached Jesus’ cousin, the Baptizer.
“Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—look, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.” John 3:26 NIV
John answered. “He must become greater; I must become less.” John 3:30 NIV
I find balance unbelievably difficult. When my waters muddy with voices telling me a selfish life is a happy life, may I remember One whose life in every way displayed the opposite.
Jesus, the only person who lived the perfect example of balance took time alone. He rested. He replenished. Yet He never gave in to self. Those times of prayer and communion with the Father kept Jesus strong against Satan’s temptations to turn stones to bread, claim kingdoms, or celebrate fame.
When my waters muddy with voices telling me a selfish life is a happy life, may I remember One whose life in every way displayed the opposite
A glimpse of how much it cost to put God the Father’s will and our redemption over self thunders from the quiet of two very different gardens.
The first sinless created beings gave in to the hiss of self in the beautiful Garden of Eden. It looked good, it seemed reasonable, and they had to have it more than they had to obey.
Jesus’s tortured soul battled on the soil of a garden on the pathway to the cross, the Garden of Gethsemane.
Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him.“Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” Mark 14:35-36 NIV
We are Johns. Our mission is always to prepare the way for One greater. May we become smaller, little people with yielded selves, ready to raise higher a mighty God. And may we slay the serpent of lies who claims putting self first is the true way to happiness.
As we put God in His rightful place we find ours.