Me…The Center Of The Universe

self-centered

 

Of all the things we teach our children, the one that seems to be hardest to drive home is that they are not the center of the universe. Everything in life is not about them…if I only had a nickel for every time I heard that while I was growing up. So, part of my job as a father is to disciple my children into the understanding that the world doesn’t revolve around them, and that it’s better to give than to receive, and so on. Simple enough, huh? Seems like it should be, as it is the attitude of Jesus all through the Gospel accounts, but then I turn on the radio one day and tune it to the local Christian radio station…then I become very troubled.The station has a recurring message to those that haven’t listened to it before. It says something to the effect of, “If this is the first time you’ve listened to our station, we want to thank you for stopping by. Here are some things you need to know about us: we will play songs that encourage YOU, that lift YOU up, and help YOU focus.” That is more-or-less a paraphrase of what the message says…and when I heard it, it troubled me deeply. Let me first say that I think that the intentions of the station are good. I think their goal is to reach people with the Gospel and shine light into the world…but I am troubled by the fact that they don’t seem to catch on to what they are saying in this little spot. First of all, a Christian radio station should first and foremost have the goal of glorifying God, and then do so through the message and methods of Jesus…and I never see Jesus in the Scriptures trying to make any of us feel as though we are the center of the universe…quite the contrary…He says that whoever is first shall be last and if you want to find your life then you first have to lose it…His logic and message were totally opposite of this mindset…yet we miss it so much…even in our Christian media. I heard a Christian minister, who’s on TV, preaching what I thought was one of the greatest representations of this ideology that is our problem. He said that if someone, somewhere isn’t celebrating you and your life, then you should celebrate yourself…and again in another, totally different message, that if there are people in our lives that disagree with us, then we should get them out of our lives. Many of our sermons and books these days are how-to guides and instructions on how to make our own personal journey through Christianity a much more pleasant and/or enjoyable process…whereas that’s not totally wrong…are these things we can put in the mouth of Jesus…

A rich young man approaches Jesus and asks Him what it takes to have eternal life…Jesus responds by essentially saying, “If you really want to live…then give your stuff to those in need, and make your life about other people…”(total paraphrase). This message apparently upset the young man and was not at all the answer he was looking for. Seemingly, what he wanted was to have all the stuff that he believed made him happy as well as have an assurance that he was a good person and was pleasing to God. Jesus sees past all of this and says that if someone really wants to experience life the way God intends for us to, then our value system needs to be overturned and our happiness and fulfillment need to be completed against the backdrop of what’s best for others…putting ourselves at the back of the line.

This seems ridiculous to us because most of us seem to believe that the key to happiness is personal achievement, recognition, wealth, health, and luxury…and to be perfectly honest, I have to say that is my gut-check reaction to the question…and so if we decide to follow the line of teaching that Jesus was bringing, then we do so in a “suffering for Jesus” mentality and perhaps think that we are just paying our dues…once again, majorly missing the point of what He was saying and doing.

A few years ago, I began to realize that I had been so very self-centered that I was truly oblivious to the struggles of those around me. During this time I had been struggling with depression and anger and sin. I decided to swallow the jagged little pill of self-awareness and realized that there is much in the world beyond the boundary of “me-land”…and that if I stopped serving my own interests, thinking of myself first, and speaking about myself always…then maybe there was true life to be found…instead of the dysfunctional version of Christianity I was experiencing. So, at every moment in which I became aware of being able to serve someone, I would try to do that…or at least try to try to do that…(just keeping it real…). Now, I won’t say that I made a major change or even scratched the surface of this paradigm, but I will say that during that period of growth (which is very much still in progress) I learned more of happiness, peace, joy, and contentment than with any other circumstances of health, wealth, and fame I could imagine.

I began to understand what Jesus meant by saying, “If you would enter life…” I have to say, that when I served or listened or helped in any way out of a love for others in Him, then I began to truly understand the “secret of life.” Perhaps the reason that there is so much depression and unhappiness in the Christian church is this very issue…or rather the lack thereof…

So many of us, especially in the Christian church need to consider this much more deeply…because more often than not, we don’t listen to one another because we would rather be heard than be listening…more often than not, we want to be at the front of the line to get the best of what’s available…more often than not, our actions don’t show that we care about anyone else but ourselves…and all of this in the name of Christ.

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6 comments on “Me…The Center Of The Universe

  1. Jay DePoy says:

    I have noticed a significant shift in your intentionality to serve others. I have often said, “I want to be more like Steve.” I know, I should say, “I want to be more like Christ!” but I hear Paul saying, “Follow me, as I follow Christ…” ~ Thanks for always being there for others, brother. I love you and praise God for the gift of your friendship!

  2. Annabannanah10 says:

    I over all like it. It was a little hard to follow, But I guess thats just me.

    Love you Daddy, Annabannanah10

  3. MarcellusWallace says:

    So much seems to have been either initiated or done “in the name of Christ”. Church movements and pastors all across the land have been raping the people of not only possessions but right understanding of scripture. The beautiful word that God gave us is a very simple thing. Not always understandable but simple. God says over and over again: “if you would just believe. “. But we won’t. We want to know not believe. Sometimes those are very different. I guess I’m trying to say that we’re not even taught to believe for the sake of others but for ourselves. I think Jesus and Paul taught otherwise. At least in the bible I’m reading they are…

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