Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Selfish Christian

Most people who claim to be Christians recognize Christ as Savior, but few recognize His authority as Lord of their lives.  Truthfully I admit that I am still work in progress in this respect.  However have you noticed that many Churches and most Christians today seek primarily God’s personal blessing for themselves (see - Joel Osteen, Tim Story and the prosperity gospel) rather than discovering His purpose and allowing their lives to fit in to that purpose? 

What about you?  Did God really call you to divorce your spouse,  cheat on that exam, steal that shirt, talk behind your co-workers back, sleep with your friends wife, or if you are busy patting yourself on your back for not doing any of those, did God really call you to come and sit in your seat every Sunday and then leave? 

Isobel Kuhn, a missionary to China, once said: “Everywhere I go, I constantly meet with men and women who say to me ‘When I was young, I wanted to be a missionary but I got married instead, or my parents dissuaded me, or some such thing.’ No, it is not God who does not call; it is man who did not respond.”   

Matthew 19:16-22
Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”
“Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.”
“Which ones?” the man inquired.
Jesus replied, “Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as yourself.”
“All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”
Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.

The meaning of this story probably seems obvious. The rich guy loved his stuff more than he loved God, right?

Well, yes, that is part of it, but there is more.  I think it illustrates what I have been trying to say in post after post about selfishness.  Let me ask you this: If the young man did what Jesus said and sold his possessions and gave to the poor, would that mean he was not selfish?

I don’t think so.  If he had done as Jesus said, it would have meant that what he REALLY wanted was eternal life and a relationship with God, and he would have shown he was selfish enough to sell all he had to get what he wanted.  As it turns out, what he really wanted was his stuff.

But in the words of the infamous info-commercials 'But wait there's more'. I think this story demonstrates the importance of trust.  If what we really want is Jesus, there are things we will have to stop trusting in, and the only way we can do that is to trust in God — to abandon ourselves to Him. The young man in the story trusted in his riches and was not able to shift that trust to where it really should be– in God.

In your life, it doesn’t have to be money that you trust in. It could be your own cleverness, a relationship, it could be a person, a job, a hobby, and it could be any number of things.   It could be what we see as our own righteousness. Desiring and trusting in these things keeps us from the relationship with God that we really want; or perhaps if the truth were admitted to, you really don’t want that relationship more than you want your stuff.  They are barriers. They are walls between us and God.

There is no doubt that most American Christians are selfish and self-forgiving about that selfishness, Jesus however is not so accommodating.  Ask yourself this question, when it is your turn to kneel before God for judgment, do you believe you will find the young man in Matthew 19:16-22 in Heaven?  

We need to get selfish about wanting God. Selfish enough to abandon ourselves to Him. 

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