I don’t remember my biology teacher mentioning “dying to self” as one of the reflex actions, yet Jesus seems to suggest it becomes.
I love my life.
Wait! Wait! I am not talking about the song. I am talking about “me”. I love “me”. I love to be noticed. I love attention. I love to go first; I pride myself in being esteemed. I enjoy seeing mob “likes” and comments on my facebook status update.(Infact your comment on this note won’t hurt – promise)
Front seats are my favorites. Even in group photos, I know who to look out for first. I love envisioning “my” career and future serving “my” goals and ambitions. As a writer, I almost drool seeing my name in print.
Yah, Life is pretty much about “me”.
In the alphabet, my favorite letter must be “I”. In the dictionary, my favorite word must be “me’ .Ask me about “me” and you may have to set your alarm clock.
Talking about “me” comes naturally. Biology students call this “reflex action”.
That’s why when Jesus talks about things like self denial (Luke 9:23); I turn to the wall and pretend to be absent minded.Yeah, and when Paul hints at things like “none of us living to himself” (Rom 14:7); I almost go like – “duh?”
I have a feeling am in good company. Don’t you love “you” too? Is there anything wrong with that?
Don’t get me wrong; loving the person God is transforming us into is one thing, and becoming overly obsessed with our sinful selves and desires is another.
Maybe that’s why John Baptist sounds strange when he says he wants to “decrease so Jesus may increase (John 3:30)”
Well, Jesus himself had no kind words for those of us who want to be great, Just hear his take on the subject.”Whoever wants to be great should become a servant of all (Mathew 20:26)”
But that’s not how our World works,” considering others above ourselves” is not mentioned as a reflex action in our biology class: it doesnt come naturally. Perhaps that’s why mirrors are popular (ladies know better).
Self help school trains us to believe the solutions are within ourselves. “Look within yourself” they say. Our careers, commitments, schedules, time – all centered around us.
So in a way, we end up living like this world is ultimately about “us”. If we are Christians, we may even turn God into our “cosmic servant “ of sorts . He has to meet all our needs. We “claim” and expect him to simply “provide”- ATM style. Not that he’s not our provider; just that we become the centre.
Something radical about Paul’s life however rubs my “self love” the wrong way. Guy had everything to boast about: educated,”Benjamite by tribe, a Hebrew of Hebrews, as to the law, a Pharisee (Phil 3:5)-Today’s equivalent of a university don.
He left all that and gave his life for others, as a servant of the gospel (Eph 3:7). Choosing to only boast in the cross (Gal 6:14) as he advised us too to consider others above ourselves (Phil2:3). Imagine exchanging your elite life for stoning, beating of rods, a night at sea and shipwrecks (2 Cor 11:25)
Something tells me Apostle Paul wasn’t absent minded as Jesus remarked .
“Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground, it cannot bear much fruit,whoever loves his life will lose it,and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life ” (John 12:24 – 25 ESV )
Now, that makes my “self- love” stink.