We all come to faith for selfish reasons. But have you stayed there?
Normally, religion and selfishness don’t mix too well. As a matter of fact, when we usually hear the world selfish in the context of spirituality, it is for a very bad reason. Selfishness is not a positive character trait. It’s a mistake to live our lives focused on “me.” It’s a sin. Yet, this is how all of us came to faith!
It’s true. No one decided to follow Jesus because they thought that was the best way to heal the world. Plenty of people are doing great things in the world. And honestly, you don’t need Jesus to do it. So, why then, do we come to faith? Simply put, because of what we get out of it!
Most people seriously consider religion, faith, or spirituality when they are experiencing some sort of life crisis. Maybe it was a death in the family, a financial obstacle, or a divorce. During these times, we are looking for hope, for answers, and a support network. These are things that lead to faith. We have to see the needs in our lives, first. Otherwise, why would you need God? That is why Jesus said it is so hard for rich people to believe in Him… They don’t realize they have any problems. But once life punches you in the gut a few times and you finally understand that you aren’t in control, that’s when we start looking for answers outside of ourselves. That’s when we turn to God.
The problem is that our churches are filled with Christians that have never moved beyond this point. They went to church for years and even served on committees. In fact, there is a nice little indention of their butt on one of the padded seats because that has been their spot since 1997.
But our faith can’t stay there. If we try to stay in this state of “What’s in it for me?” or “What have you done for me, lately” spirituality, we are nothing more than empty souls. This was the religion of the Pharisees. They were only interested in what their spirituality did for their lives,bringing them power, influence, and prestige. Jesus had some strong words for this type of spirituality.
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness. -Matthew 23:27-28
Tough words! Jesus didn’t have a lot to say positive regarding the Pharisees! However, as I look at my own life, I see a lot of Pharisee in it. How many times have I been in church, putting up a front like I am so close to God and want to do all I can to advance His Kindgom, yet I am completely focused on myself? More than I want to admit! I think it is something we all struggle with!
Moving From ME to YOU
At some point, our focus needs to shift. Yes, we are always going to have personal struggles. We will always depend on God’s grace and His guidance in our lives. But after we have been a Christian for a year, 5 years, 10 years, 20 years, this can no longer be the driving need of our faith. In my own life, while I am dealing with doubts of how to lead my family or living out my own purpose, I MUST constantly be thinking of you.
Sadly, I know this all too well. For years, I was focused on me. I may not say, “What’s in it for me?” when it comes to my faith. But that is exactly how I was living. A few months ago, I looked at my blog. It sucked. I didn’t like what I was writing or what I was building. Even though it was focused on helping others, it really wasn’t. I was writing posts that I thought would do well. I would look at the “big boys” and write eerily similar posts. And it was shite. You won’t find those posts because I deleted them all. Not archived. Deleted. I knew I would never want to seem them again. There was no heart or soul. I said it was for others, but it wasn’t. It was for me. Write this post and you’ll grab some solid traffic! I am glad I didn’t. I would hate to have built a website based on those posts. I would not have been able to keep up the charade for long.
Now, I am truly writing for you. I am sharing my life with you. It may not always be pretty. It may be a little messy. But it’s me.
My traffic is down compared to when I wrote about the movie Noah (one of my better posts from the “before” time). And that is cool with me. I’m not writing for the masses. I’m writing for you. If, and when, the Lord feels I am ready for a larger audience, it will come. For now, I want to help you. Because if I get 100,000 followers, I still want to be writing for you.
When our faith truly moves from ME to YOU, it brings freedom. Am I still concerned about how to be a good dad and father? Do I still have hopes and dreams about my purpose and my future? Of course, I do! But, I now realize that if I give my life to living out the ways that Jesus taught and giving myself away to others, that everything else will be taken care of and provided.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. -Matthew 6:33
When we trust God with our lives, and then give ourselves away for the benefit of other people, it brings deeper meaning and a brighter future than we could ever create on our own!
[reminder]Have you ever thought about the reasons you came to faith? Why did you believe in Jesus in the first place? Were you a child? Adult? Have you ever moved from a ME-focused faith to a YOU-focused faith?[/reminder]