Wednesday, April 16, 2014

What do I get out of this?

You know, I didn't realize I was one of those people. I always recognized them when I saw them and I never thought I had the symptoms, but recently it hit me in the face: I was looking at some situations with a "What do I get out of this?" attitude, even if I wasn't literally thinking it.

Take my writing for example. There was a time when I wanted to share a meaningful message with the world, but over time, more than anything, I think I just wanted to get my books published so that I could be, well, at least somewhat famous. I thought that my book was a thousand times better than everything else on the market and therefore should be published. Praise the Lord, my feet were brought back to earth this past week as I learned that it's not about how great I am-- it's about asking, How can I make a difference, How can I help people, How can I bless people with my writing? Somehow I began to lose sight of that and made myself so high and mighty that I was just that much better than all the others.

But guess what.... It's not about ME! Praise the Lord, it's not about me!

We should have passion for what we do, but above all else we should have passion for God, and what we do, what we say, what we write, should be fueled by that passion and by our love, or compassion, for others.

If I write what God wants me to write, then I don't even need to worry about elevating myself-- God will get that message where it needs to go. My job is simply to do God's bidding.

I've realized that some very dangerous things start to happen when we adapt a "What do I get out of this?" mindset.

We forget to look beyond ourselves. We focus only on our own problems. We pray less for others and a lot for ourselves. Now, it's good to pray about the issues in our life-- we should do that, but we should not just be asking God "Please, fix this, fix that, please." How about asking, "What can I do to help You fix the broken?"

We become selfish. This one seems obvious, but selfishness creeps into our lives so subtly that I don't think we often recognize it until it's snuggled up on the sofa nursing on a bottle of self pity. Jesus came to give Himself away though He was the Son of God! If the Son of God saw fit to have a servant's heart and die to himself, then shouldn't I do the same???

We miss out on the blessings God has for us. When we set out to seek the best for ourselves we lower the standard that God has set for our lives. God has great plans for us (Jer. 29:11), plans to prosper us, to bless us above what we could think or ask (Eph. 3:20,21). If I set out to gain all the good things I can think up, I'm cheating myself, because God can do so much more for me! It will probably look nothing like what we envision for ourselves-- it may not be glamorous, it may not make us popular, it may not make us rich, but it will most assuredly make us blessed.

We miss out on making a difference in the lives of others. If we are caught up into "My needs, My desires, My feelings" then we are missing out on others needs, others desires, others feelings, where we could be making a difference and helping to change hearts. Satan wants to do all he can to keep us forever in a cocoon, it has always been his desire to cut off the gospel from being heard and from being lived. But God wants us to let our light shine before men that they may see our good works and glorify our Father in Heaven (Matt. 5:16)!

I'm not saying that we can never spare ourselves a thought. There is a time and a season for every purpose under Heaven, but God's setup and desire for us has always been: God first, others second, and ourselves last. That is the perspective we need to keep. Our needs and desires have a place, but it is last place. If we seek Him first, all of our needs will be met (Matt. 6:33). We don't need to worry about that. God is taking care of us, He has no problem with taking care of us, He wants to take care of us! The question is, how can we help Him care for this world? It may be very small, it may be simply giving a listening ear, it may be forgiving someone, it may be offering encouragement, caring for a child, being a shoulder to cry on, giving, sacrificing, offering, caring, loving, sharing, teaching, touching, sacrificing... Whatever it is, it will never be about me. God already made it about me when He died on the cross; that is where my scars were healed, my sins forgiven, my needs met, my sicknesses cured. The truth is, we can have every appearance of doing good, but if we're not careful, even in ministry we can make it about us. It's time to make it about God, it's time to make it about YOU, I've had enough of "It's about me".

"And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself."  Luke 10:27

That is just some stuff God has been teaching me. I pray that it is a blessing to you as well.

Love in Christ,