Monday, January 31, 2011

Me, Myself and I

“The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common.” Acts 4: 32

I think if you look back through history and explore the societies and cultures and regimes of our past you will find that many of them had specific, identifying philosophies or characteristics that defined them from others. I think this is also true today in our own time. And I think one of the identifying hallmarks of our culture is an unhealthy attitude or philosophy called individualism.

Let’s face it, people are looking out for #1—themselves. It’s all about ME, right? Think about advertisers and their messages—it’s all about YOU making yourself happy or fulfilled in some way. It’s all about putting your needs and wants before anyone else’s. It’s all about serving the almighty god of ourselves. McDonald’s has told us a billion times “It’s how I roll” or “I deserve a break today”. Best Buy’s ad slogan used to be “You. Happier.” Car commercials on TV talk about cars turning us on and other such drivel.

We have become perhaps the most picky, spoiled, complaining society in history with too much time on our hands and not enough courage in our souls to live differently from the mantras we are fed every time we turn on the TV, log onto facebook or read the newspaper or a magazine. We whine anytime we are inconvenienced in the slightest and we demand perfection from others around us in the way they treat us. We leave no room for failure in others while at the same time we demand accommodations and understanding from others for our mistakes. The point is that many people walk around through this world living primarily for themselves and are left with an emptiness and confusion in their hearts as a result.

We were not made for ourselves; we were made for others, for community. The more we live for ourselves, the less human we become and the more we live for others, the more we actualize our full potential as human beings. When we feed ourselves with ourselves, we are never satisfied, but when we feed off of the donation of ourselves to others, then we become filled to overflowing. While God is One, He is not an individual, He is a community of three Persons we call the Holy Trinity. And being made in His image, you and are were not created for ourselves, but to be in relationship and communion with others.

We live for others when we recognize the needs of others and respond to them. We live for others when we stop talking about ourselves and complaining about our problems. We live for others when we reach out to the new person at school or work. We live for others when we put our agenda and schedule aside to love someone, to listen to someone, to make someone feel as if they are the most important person in the world to us at that moment. We live for others when we stop getting frustrated by other drivers or stop seeing people as obstacles to our success. We live for others when we love our parents and siblings and children as if this is the last day we will have with them. Today let’s commit to emptying ourselves of ourselves and putting more thought, energy and action into giving ourselves away.

Dear Jesus, You completely emptied Yourself for the whole world when You died on the cross. Help me to follow Your example and die to myself so to bring life to others. Amen.

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