What began as something good--Focusing on ourselves for self improvement and growth--has grown into an almost obsession of self-focus and selfishness. It is insidious!
I remember when pastors began moving away from messages about salvation, service and evangelism to "self-help" messages that sounded more like personal growth therapy sessions! It seemed like a good direction to go because people were becoming more aware of their emotional and mental states and would, with that knowledge grow into mature, productive disciples of Christ. The problem is, we ended up with an abundance of "me Christians"! In essence, there are many Humanist Christians who don't even know that is what they have become.
Wikipedia says: Christian humanism regards humanist principles like universal human dignity, individual freedom and the importance of happiness as essential and principal components of the teachings of Jesus. Now, the problem with that is that it puts "me" at the center of my universe and not Jesus. It is like taking the sun and having it rotate around the earth. We are not the center of the universe!
Also, I have read several articles that say being self-focused may increase depression but being focused on others and helping people in some way decreases depression. "Getting your mind off yourself" just may be good advice! That is understandable!
People whose lives are based on selfishness think about selfish things, but people whose lives are based on the Spirit think about things that are related to the Spirit. The attitude that comes from selfishness leads to death, but the attitude that comes from the Spirit leads to life and peace. So the attitude that comes from selfishness is hostile to God. It doesn’t submit to God’s Law, because it can’t. People who are self-centered aren’t able to please God.
But you aren’t self-centered. Instead you are in the Spirit, if in fact God’s Spirit lives in you. If anyone doesn’t have the Spirit of Christ, they don’t belong to Him. Romans 8:5-9 CEB
We choose churches by the way it affects us: the worship, the preaching, the child care, etc as if we were the center of the universe. You want to go somewhere where you can "Get your praise on!", get pumped up and know your children are well taken care of. Have you ever gone "church shopping" with the focus being "Can God use me here?"
I'm right there with you and until recently I never thought about it. But this year the Holy Spirit changed my focus and I began seeing from a new perspective! Once you see it, you can't unsee it! That is why I am writing. I want you to see also!
We've got to get our eyes off of ourselves and back on Jesus!
Social media and our culture have created an epidemic of self-absorbed and narcissistic people. It has caused them to look coldly on the hardships of others. As long as we keep our eyes on ourselves, we cannot advance the Kingdom of God in our community. How many people will never come to know Jesus because we couldn't get our eyes and thoughts off of ourselves? That is a sobering thought.
Yes, once you see it, you won't be able to unsee it. Be aware of your focus. Is it Jesus focused? Is it focused on discipleship, evangelism, serving others? Or is it centered on you, how it relates to your life, your prosperity, your comfort, and your happiness?
...Let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now He is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Hebrews 12:1b-2 NLT
All scriptures NLT unless noted.
Be a Kingdom light shining in the darkness,
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