Archive | February 2016

Selflessness In A Selfie World

 

girl taking selfie with mobile phone clipart

 Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you…”        

Isaiah 43:4a

 They are everywhere…selfies that is.  You will find them on various apps including Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat.  The world seems obsessed with taking them and posting them online.  According to Samsung,  a million selfies are taken every day and account for almost 33 percent of all photos taken in 2014 by people between the ages of 25 and 33.  They are most common in Australia, followed by the U.S. and Canada.

But what is the motivation behind selfies? Is it to show everyone what we look like at our best and how we spend our time?  Sometimes it’s fun and OK, but if we are obsessed with selfies we may need to ask ourselves if we have self-esteem issues. Are we seeking attention, positive feedback or social validation from the outside.  In other words, are our selfies an expression of pride and celebration of life or a call for affirmation?

There is really only One who can affirm our worth…and that is Jesus Christ.

Before I became a Christian, I thought it was all about me.  I thought I had to earn God’s love and acceptance.  Maybe…

  • if I was pretty enough
  • if I was smart enough
  • if I was popular enough
  • if I was good enough…then I would be worthy of God’s love and acceptance!

But you know what?  I couldn’t measure up to God’s standard.  It wasn’t for lack of trying! I gritted my teeth with determination.  I summoned my strongest will-power.  I made countless resolutions!  But try as I might, I would fail again and again.

One Spring night at in a revival service I had an “ah ha” moment that changed my life.  The evangelist was talking about the love of God and the fact that while we were still in our sin God loved us so much that He sent his one and only Son to die for us and pay the penalty for our sin.  Imagine, God loved me even when I wasn’t very lovable – even though I wasn’t perfect.  That night I asked Jesus into my heart.  Because of His love, He clothed me in a robe of righteousness, His righteousness – and now I am “good enough”.

After Jesus came into my heart,  I came to understand that it wasn’t all about me after all – but rather, it was all about Him!

  • His unconditional love – not a love based on looks or performance. (Romans 5:8)
  • His lavish love – you can’t measure it. (Romans 8:38-39)
  • His eternal love – it lasts forever. (Jeremiah 31:3)
  • His sacrificial love – God gave His one and only Son to die for me – for me! (John 3:16)

While shopping for a Birthday gift recently, I came across a coffee mug with a phrase on it based on 1 John 4:8 which says…

“She didn’t have to be perfect…

Because she was perfectly loved.”

Now, when my Father looks at me, He sees perfection, because when He looks at me He sees His Son.

Before I knew Jesus I was part of the selfie crowd because I thought it was all about me.  Now that I know Jesus, I rejoice in the reality that it is all about Him!

Truth to Claim:  Our worth is found in Jesus because it’s all about Him?

 Application:   Memorize some verses about how much God loves you so you can stand firm  when Satan attacks your worth.

 

Solo Deo Gloria

 

 

 

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The Great Distraction

Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content

in whatever circumstances I am.  Philippians 4:11godliness-with-Contentment

 It was a beautiful day!  I had just finished my quiet time and was feeling so blessed…with a wonderful husband, awesome kids and grandkids, a comfortable home, great friends and a loving church family.

Then it happened…I was surrounded.  As I sat down to check recent Facebook posts, the attacks came at me from all directions…a Facebook post about someone’s new home, a story about a friend’s promotion, ads for things that I couldn’t live without, and a picture of a friend’s perfect family!  The Great Distraction –discontentment – had struck again!

We’ve all been there.

  • If we’re young, we want to be older. If we’re old, we wish we were younger.
  • If it’s old, we want something new.
  • If it’s small, we want something bigger.
  • If we have a hundred dollars, we want two hundred.
  • If we have an apartment, we want a condo. If we have a house, we want a bigger house. Or a newer house. Or a nicer house. Or maybe we want to scale down and live in an apartment again.
  • If we have a job, we dream of a better job, a bigger job, a closer job, a bigger office, a better boss.
  • If we’re single, we dream of being married. If we’re married … (you can finish that sentence yourself.)
  • If we have kids we dream of…

A certain amount of discontentment can be good for our souls.  The hope of something better drives us forward and keeps us working, inventing, striving, creating and innovating. But there is another type of discontentment that propels us in the wrong direction.

Identifying the causes of discontentment is one of the first steps in overcoming it.

  • Unrealistic expectations – In our minds we have thoughts and ideas about how things should be, how people should behave, and how our life should be. These are just ideas…they are not truth. When there is a gap between our expectations and our reality, discontentment sets in.
  • Comparing ourselves to others – When we compare ourselves to others we are comparing our inside to their outside. We may never know the issues another person is dealing with on the inside…all we see is their perfect outside.
  • Attempting to live up to the expectations of others – Accepting others’ expectations or standards for our success never works out well. It leaves us feeling like no matter what we do it will never be good enough.

In reality, discontentment is a spiritual problem.

  • Discontentment is a mistrusting of God – We don’t really believe that we are who He says we are, what He says He has done for us or will do for us, or that He will work all things for our good. (Romans 8:28)
  • Discontentment exhibits a desire to be sovereign…or in control. Like Adam and Eve, (who lived in paradise and had it all) we desire to be like God and control our own destiny.
  • Discontentment covets something God has not been pleased to give us. He gave us His Son – can we not trust Him for the trivial things? (Romans 8:32)

God wants us to be victorious over our discontentment. So, let’s consider some steps we can take to become overcomers.

  1. Acknowledge that we are where we are by God’s assignment. 1 Corinthians 7:17 says, “Nevertheless, each one should retain the place in life that the Lord assigned to him and to which God has called him”. God has given each of us a job to do. He has gifted each of us in a certain way and has assigned us a particular place in life. The issue is not circumstances.  We should serve God where we are until He clearly calls us elsewhere.
  1. Focus on Gratitude. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”. Thankfulness is a state of mind, not an accumulation of assets.  We will never achieve contentment until we are truly thankful for God’s provision…in all circumstances.
  1. Reject a fearful spirit. 2 Timothy 1:7 reminds us, “For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of self-control”. One of the most effective tools used by Satan against Christians is the question, “What if?”  Christians get trapped into hoarding because they fear the “What if?” of retirement, disability, unemployment, economic collapse, and so on.
  1. Remember that we are visitors on earth…not permanent residents. Hebrews 13:14 says, For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come “. We should not be preoccupied with things that don’t matter… trying to hang on to things of the world. Corrie Tin Boone said, “Don’t hold on too tightly to the things God has given you or it may hurt when He has to pry them out of your hands”.
  • Our bank books are His,
  • Our investments are His,
  • Our calendar is His,
  • Our home is His,
  • Our family is His,
  • Our marriage is His,
  • Our children are His,
  • Our future is His.

Contentment seems illusive to many of us.  We feel as if we will never be able to find peace.  However, contentment is not something that we must search for until we find it.  Contentment is an attitude of the heart.  Once we alter our attitude and give it to God, contentment will flood our souls and we will no longer be distracted by the things of this world.

 Truth to Claim:  God wants us to find contentment in Him.

 Practical Application:  Ask God to show you those things that rob you of contentment and commit to giving them to Him.

Solo Deo Gloria