It is always saddening to see memes and words of wisdom all over social media outlets focusing only on one’s self. They’re all always about ‘me,’ ‘myself’ and ‘I.’ Although the intention of the ‘wisdom’-givers is well, they may not always be aware that it’s always one’s self that is glorified. We see so-called ‘positive’ adages and sayings like ‘you can do it’ and ‘you can conquer mountains’ and words of that sort. Some may retort by asking what’s wrong with saying words of encouragement. Well, nothing, except that we seem to be forgetting one thing, and that is, without God, nothing is possible (‘For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities– all things have been created through Him and for Him.’ – Col. 1:16)
Many subscribe to a certain mantra and live by it without even considering the giver of everything. Our very existence, the air we breathe, even our every movement (‘For in him we live and move and have our being’ – Acts 17:28) are all provided by our Creator. Come to think of it. Without God’s sustaining power, we can’t even move! Yet, we have the audacity to profess words without even ascribing the things that are made possible to the provider of everything.
And then there are those who say things as absurd as ‘the stars have aligned’ or ‘the universe has conspired’ to explain the good ‘fortune’ that has come upon them. My friends, the universe and all that’s in it, including the stars and the planets, are also created things. They are not responsible for the good things that happen to you (which is why there’s no scintilla of truth to astrology and zodiac signs). It is only by God’s grace that we can even achieve our goals and ambitions in life. Others would profer seemingly innocuous words like ‘life is about you.’ Well, friends, it is not. Life is given to us and we live it for the purpose of worshipping and glorifying its Giver. Ultimately, we live our life to give honor and praise to our one and only true God. Loving something else more than Him becomes idolatry, which is a violation of His first commandment, that we shall not have other gods before Him (Exo. 20:3). Spending too much time and energy on something that takes our focus away from our Creator is a form of idolatry.
The two greatest commandments are to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’.” These are the very words of Jesus in Matt. 22:37-39. Clearly, the greatest commandment is love of God, while love of self is only the second greatest commandment. And if you notice, love of one’s self is even juxtaposed with love of one’s neighbor, which means love has to be extended to others and not only to one’s self. (I love the illustration of love of God as a vertical love and love of one’s neighbor as a horizontal love, and when these two intersect, they form a cross.)
Even God, whose love for us is beyond grasp, gave His only begotten Son so that those who believe in Him shall be saved (John 3:16). That’s the supreme example of self-sacrifice. Try for a second to examine and understand the profoundness of Philippians 2:5-8, which states:
‘In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!’
(To my Christian brothers and sisters, these verses have come to be known as the Carmen Christi, or ‘The Christ Hymn.’)
As you can see, even our Lord Jesus, even though his very nature is God, ‘made himself nothing’ (one Bible version renders it as ‘emptied Himself’) so He can save us out of His love for us! If Jesus did it, who are we not to follow? Who are we, His mere creations, not to give our own selves for God and for the sake of others? Let us be reminded by what John 15:13 says, ‘Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.’
One of the greatest deceptions of Satan is making us believe that everything is about us and that we can be ‘like God.’ Remember that when he tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden, he said, ‘For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ (Gen. 3:5) The reason why Satan, along with other angels, were banished from Heaven is because of their selfish pride, of wanting to be ‘like God.’
It is my fervent hope and prayer that these words will edify you and that you’ll start refocusing your lenses on things that truly matter. Let’s stop feeding and pleasing our ego. That’s not what we were created for. We were created not to worship ourselves or other created things but to worship only Him, for His glory (‘Everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.’ – Isaiah 43:7).
‘For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever. Amen.’ (Rom. 11:36)