It’s no secret that our culture today is centered around ourselves. In fact, our society is often called the ‘selfie culture’. We post pictures of ourselves for likes, videos to get the most views, and we can’t wait to share our accomplishments with the world around us. We always want to know what other people think, and we look for validation with every choice we make. We spend $8 billion (Worldwatch Institute) on cosmetics each year, and Americans alone spend north of $60 billion (U.S. News) a year on weight loss products and services. We are infinitely searching for more. We’re constantly seeking a thrill or expectation, satisfaction or achievement in something we love — and sometimes even in things we don’t love. We need to fight against this.
My point here, friends, is that being self centered affects a lot more than our own little worlds. It’s something that we fight in our daily battles; it can seep in unknowingly and start to grow roots in the most pure places of our hearts. Today, I want to talk about 3 things (although there are many more) that happen when we let egocentrism take control of our actions.
Have you ever thought to yourself “If only I could lose this weight, then I would be happy.” ? Maybe for you it was,“If I just had a spouse or significant other, then I would be where I want to be.” , or one of a thousand other ‘if only…, then…” statements we make to ourselves. I know that I have. Whether it’s money or jobs, relationships or weight loss, I think that everyone at some point in their life has felt this way about something.
I believe that it is good to make goals and work toward the things we desire, but there is a fine line between having desires and having obsessions. As humans, we have continuously and consistently bought into the lie that if we could just get to a certain place, we would be content. The problem, though, is that humans are progressive. We are the only species on the planet to keep moving forward and search for more. We are infinitely dependent and self-transcendent. We always want to know more, to be better, to do different.
The problem in this is that God has called us just as we are. If we begin to seek our purpose outside of Him, we will become self-reliant and self-conscious. Romans 5:6 tells us that Christ died for the ungodly. He didn’t die for the future, idealistic versions of ourselves we have in our minds. He died for you as is — no matter how much makeup you have on your face, no matter what your body looks like, not matter how much money you have in the bank. If you can learn to be content in Jesus, you won’t have to be reliant on those things to find happiness. Our joy is found in Jesus alone.
This last weekend, I was leading worship in my hometown for a women’s conference called IF:Gathering. If you haven’t heard of it or don’t know a lot about it, you should absolutely check it out (Here’s the link!) Seriously ladies, I can’t say enough about how amazing it was! I could literally make a whole post about the conference and all the resources they have to offer. So, so good!
I was leading a song called “What A Beautiful Name“. It is one of my all time favorite worship songs, not only because it’s beautiful, but because the lyrics are pointing directly to Jesus. As we started practicing that song, I just felt the Lord set something on my heart about it. He pointed out that this song doesn’t use the word “I”, and that kind of worship is the most intimate kind. It’s humbling.
Now, I know that there are worship songs that focus on the Holy Spirit coming and our desire for more of God’s presence, and those are really good songs. However, I believe that if we let all of our worship be centered on that, we miss the point. Just in the same way, when we let our selfishness seep into our worship, we miss the point. We then tend to focus on how we sound or how we look, who’s behind us singing off-key or who just played the wrong chord on stage.
Worship is absolutely for us — we were created with a need for it. However, it is not about us. From Genesis to Psalms to Isaiah to Revelation, you’ll notice a pattern about worship in the Bible. All of it is centered around praising the Lord. There are songs of thanks, songs of praise, and lots of ‘Glory be to God’; over and over it’s emphasized that their songs were both to God and about God. This shouldn’t ever change.
Our hearts, especially during worship, should be selfless and completely focused on Jesus. As Christians, this is our stomping ground. This is home field for us. Here is where it should be easiest to be selfless! Just something to keep in mind the next time you find your mind wandering or focused on the wrong things during worship.
Have you ever been called something you didn’t like? Had something awful said about you? What did you do? Did you let it shake you to your core? Did you believe it? Maybe you have been called something you did like. Did you believe it then? Do you even remember those moments? Studies actually show that we are more likely to remember negative comments said about us than positive ones and more than that, they show that we believe the negative ones more than positive ones. Sad, isn’t it?
When our lives are centered around ourselves, we start to believe everything that is said about us because we aren’t focused on the firm foundation of who we are in Christ. Even subconsciously, we take what is said about us and evaluate it, trying to equate our worth based on it.
When negative things are said about us, we have a choice. Too often, we choose to let those things define us. Thank God for this — we have another option. Because of Jesus, we have a new identity in God. We were created in the image of God, so insulting someone else’s character or physical body is essentially insulting God’s craftsmanship. There is beauty in everyone. God does not make mistakes. So, the next time you are faced with an insult, remember this: your worth doesn’t come from other people.
Your worth comes from the one who created you — who called you his own before you were even born.
Our attitude, our worship, and our measurement of worth all come from a deep place in our hearts. Whatever you do, dear friends, don’t let selfishness grow its roots there. God has called you higher, and he is empowering you for greater.