Self-focused Vs. God-focused

December 4, 2012

Friends,
Self-focus is not a pretty thing. And in God’s eyes, it is idolatry. It is to keep Self on the throne –to serve it, cater to it, indulge it, whine about it, feel sorry for it, and to give it control. It is to usurp God’s rightful place in and over our lives. It’s sin, and it is not the path of salvation.

Our society teaches people to be self-focused. They teach that it is good to focus on oneself in order to understand oneself. How crazy. We can never understand Self! (Jer. 17:9) Self is wicked and selfish and rude and inconsiderate, and it is certainly deceitful. (See same verse) This is why it must be crucified with Christ, which we do by our faith and genuine repentance and commitment to Christ, and a new Self must be put on –that of the Spirit of Christ. (Rom. 13:14 // Eph. 4:24 // Col. 3:3) When we’ve done this, and keep Him on by our continuation in faith and obedience to Him, then we are living God-focused, not Self-focused, lives.

Sadly though, most “Christians”, just like the world, walk around focused on themselves –what they want, who has hurt them, and the things they are doing for Self in order to heal, be happy and fulfilled, and attain their goals. Yet what does this Self-focus accomplish for them? It only brings isolation from others, depression, and eventually, death. Death to love and joy and faith, death to the spirit, and eternal death. As Jesus says, “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” (Matt. 10:39)

But, what does a God-focused life look like? It looks and acts joyful and thankful, considerate and loving, humble and forgiving, self-sacrificing and compassionate. The person living this kind of life forgets the past things –just as God has commanded us to do (Isa. 43:18)– and continually seeks ways to show love to God and others. Such a person does not use past traumas to excuse present sins. Such a person practices self-control (in thought, word, and deed) and trains himself to be godly, patient, and mature at all times. Such a person waits on God’s timing, praising Him and trusting Him while fully confident that God’s presence and help is right there, even if not tangibly felt. Such a person’s love for God and others is not sentimentalism, but real and active. It is not shallow or unstable, but solid and genuine.

On the other hand, “Christians” who are Self-focused have a faith and a love for God that crumbles when things look dark, when the enemy attacks, or when they see that their lives are turning out quite differently than they had envisioned. Yet even when they know that their own past rebellion toward God has brought on much of their troubles and misery, they still seek to find someone else to blame. “But why should anyone complain when punished for his sins?” (See Lam. 3:39) For if God disciplines a person now, He is being merciful, for He is working to cleanse out the impurities that would otherwise send a person to eternal condemnation. (Heb. 12:4-14)

We are commanded in God’s Word to rejoice no matter what happens to us (Phil. 4:4 // 1 Thes. 5:16), and to be exceedingly glad, knowing that our tests produce Christ in us. (Matt. 5:11,12 // Phil. 3:7-11 // James 1:2-4 // 1 Peter 1:6,7 & 4:12-14) We are actually called to suffer! (Phil. 1:19,29 // 1 Peter 2:21) Why then do “Christians” grumble when trials come their way? Yes, when we get shot down or caught off guard, we may fall and cry. But we’re not to remain there. We’re to get right back up and proceed with faith-filled exaltations to God for His mighty deeds (those deeds which we, if we are trusting God, do not need to fully comprehend) and for His goodness that never fails. Do we expect this evil world to be Heaven? Of course not! Then why would anyone be surprised that it brings suffering? Yet we have God, our gracious Shepherd, who is right there to shield us, carry us, comfort us, and give us His own strength and wisdom and power to overcome! –If we ask, if we run to Him and take refuge in Him, and if we believe with patient trust.

Unmistakably, there is a huge contrast between the Self-focused person and the God-focused person. Therefore, let each of us take a good look at ourselves through God’s eyes, not our own, and make an assessment from His Spirit, not ours. And once we’ve done an honest examination, let us repent, turn from ALL sin –bad attitudes included– fix our eyes on Jesus (Heb. 12:2), and walk forevermore in the joy and love and gratefulness that should be ours as we continually offer up to God praise and thanksgiving (13:15) for all He has done for us, all He is doing through us, and for the wonderful God He is!

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

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