All About Us (Or is it?)
by Tyora Moody
"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is good and acceptable and perfect will of God." Romans 12:1-2 NIV
There was a time I thought I was Ms. Goody-Two Shoes. You know my good outweighs my bad, so I’m okay. Not like other folks. This same condescending attitude kept me from accepting God in my life for years.
I believed in "the man upstairs", but I did my own thing, not comprehending there was a greater purpose outside my little world. As life goes, frustration and anger settled into my being and I started to wonder, wasn’t there more to life than this?
It took a serious choice to move beyond the "all about me" attitude. Now with maturity, my deepest desire is to reflect the character of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, not mine which is flawed and quite quirky. Despite my high ideals, I’m still a work in progress, pressing forward to this higher calling. My mission in life is to grow and encourage growth in others.
"Not that I have already obtained all this or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Philippians 3:12 NIV
Recently, while perusing Books-A-Million, one particular title caught my eye.
My first inclination was to laugh, but then I started thinking as I checked out the back of the book, how much of my own hurt and pain stemmed from people who confess to being followers of Christ. Pondering a little deeper, then I had to admit to being a carrying card member myself. I certainly don’t always walk the walk.
People are people.
Christians are sinners saved by grace. No such thing as perfection. Not on this side with the living.
Have you ever considered how Christians stunt the growth of others?
In this country alone, I cringe when I see what people really think about Christianity. It’s sad. In fact, David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons release a book last year called unChristian. Here’s a brief description:
“The New Testament writer Paul told the first-century Christians: "You yourselves are our letter . . . known and read by everybody." When a person "reads" your life, what does it say? What does your faith look like to outsiders? A major new research project, unveiled for the first time in this book, describes the increasingly negative reputation of Christians, especially among young Americans. The research shows that Christians are best known for what they are against.”
Makes you ponder doesn’t it? At least I did.
A long time ago, it occurred to me that Christian can have two types of attitudes. There isn’t a middle ground – you are either hot or cold according to Revelation 3:15.
A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. Luke 10:30-33 NIV
Let’s examine the passage a little further and see if you follow me on these two types of attitudes.
It’s a known fact that good is always in conflict with evil. Satan is the prince of this world. There isn’t really any truth to "the devil made me do it," but there is truth in the fact that people fall into the same predicament that got the highest and most beautiful angel booted out of heaven (Luke 10:18, Revelations 12:7-9).
P – R – I – D – E
Pride will lead people to have the "Me, Me, Me", "It’s All About Me", or the "I Don’t Have Time" attitude like those two self-righteous religious men. If we get caught up in ourselves, we may PASS BY God’s opportunities for us. Our hearts will become hardened as we try to fill those lost opportunities with material possessions, unhealthy relationships and other items of the world. If those "religious" men were really about God’s work, God’s compassion would have been evident in their characters.
On the other hand, we can have an attitude like the Samaritan. A Samaritan was an outsider to the Jews. There is an awesome story in the Gospels where Jesus purposely traveled through Samaria, which was absolutely forbidden by most Jews. The Woman at the Well is one of my favorite stories and it can be read in John 4.
The Samaritan definitely had things to do, but he chose to stop and not PASS BY a child of God.
Did you notice I underlined, bolded and italicized that?
Child of God
All of us have a part in God’s ultimate purpose. Before Jesus went to the cross, he taught his disciples some valuable lessons about service. Wherever you may be in your life journey right now, take some time and think about how can God use you? How has he used you? It always leads back to a greater purpose.
Please if you are a believer in Christ (I’m talking to myself here too), don’t get caught up in the what I see as the westernized version of Christianity. If you aren’t quite sure you get all this Christian stuff, don’t give up.
Spend some time in the Gospels, New Testament epistles and don’t forget to explore the Old Testament.
Pray. Can’t stress enough the humbling factor of spending time in God’s presence.
It will change your perspective.
It’s not about US at all.
It’s all about God.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tyora Moody is a writer, book reviewer and web developer. Find more of her writings at CookieAisle.com.