I didn’t think it was any accident that the Saturday evening before my husband was to teach Sunday School on the sin of selfishness, we had the (insert sarcasm here) “wonderful” privilege of watching an Olympic athlete try to defend his indefensible actions.
A swimmer by the name of Ryan Lochte gave Eric a very current and obvious example of this sin that is a constant struggle for most of us. A sin that, without Christ, will eat some alive. Lochte seems to be one of its victims, if his interview was any indication.
This post is not about Lochte. But I have to say just one more thing about this “kid” who was “just out having fun”.
My daughter brought to my attention that Lochte is 32 years old. THIRTY-TWO! In the world that used to be, 32-year-olds were working hard and raising families. They certainly would have never been referred to as a kid. And they certainly wouldn’t have deemed getting drunk and trashing a bathroom with a bunch of buddies entertainment for an evening. And if any 32-year-old would have done such a thing, he would have been ostracized by the public and viewed with disgust.
But not in this world.
In this world, anything goes. Well, anything that doesn’t call for absolute values or hard work. Values have completely flipped.
And perhaps we should expect that in this world. 2 Timothy tells us this in Chapter 3–
But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! 6 For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8
I truly believe we are in those perilous times. Of course, there have always been men and women who love themselves, who boast, who despise good, and have no self-control. But I believe there are two main ways this day and age is different. And it’s pretty important that we be aware of these differences–
First, these things are no longer on the fringes of most societies but rather have been accepted as mainstream. One only has to take a look around to see this. In fact, some of these are not only accepted, they are even encouraged. Entertainment and media have changed our entire values system. They have changed how we view sin and what we deem as important. Meanwhile, many of us sat on our sofas with a bag of chips in our hands, our eyes on a screen, and allowed it all to happen, with not even a raised, questioning eyebrow. Shame on us.
Second, these things are creeping into the church. Instead of being a church that is repentant and broken over our sin and finding our victory in Jesus and then working together, unified, to spread the Gospel and grow believers, we have become a church filled with individuals obsessed with finding our personal purposes and getting our own way. We have become obsessed with “experiencing” worship and meeting our carnal needs. It is a church that is much more concerned about personal glory than about God’s glory.
We have a form of godliness but deny its power. Isn’t that such an apt description of the church today?
As true believers–those that are part of the remnant that is left of the true church–we have a grave responsibility in a culture like this one.
It can be overwhelming at times and it is generally no fun. But Christ has prepared us for this in His Word. Matthew 6:24 puts it very succinctly: Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
Deny himself. As opposed to finding personal purpose.
Take up his cross. As opposed to amassing riches, loving pleasure, and fulfilling dreams.
Follow Christ. As opposed to following self.
There is a most beautiful, unspoken conclusion to this verse. If we deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Jesus, we find exactly what we were so desperately longing for. We find our purpose, we find peace, and we find true and lasting joy.
But if we are obsessed with our own lusts, dreams, and purposes, we end up discouraged, depressed, broken, and reaping heaps of horrible consequences on ourselves and those we love. And if we are so unfortunate–we even become the poster child for an entire nation as to what selfishness looks like.
How important that we live the Christian life as Jesus Christ has commanded us. How important that we live pure, holy, and unselfish lives in a culture that is obsessed with self. There is no time to waste and no room for a Christian to focus on self.
Let us battle selfishness tenaciously.
Never giving up and never giving in.
5 thoughts on “From the Fringes and Into the Church”
Leslie, thank you so much for this post as I to have fought this in my own life and have suffered for it. I see as you do how our world has tolerated sin and looks past it,but soon God will bring His judgement upon this people and we will have to give an account for what we have done for Christ.I have really enjoyed your articles and want to see more.God bless you.
Thank you, Pat, for your honesty and encouragement :) I believe that anyone who is honest with themselves sees how selfishness is something we have to constantly battle!
Thank you for reminding me of this. I need to be more vigilant and outspoken in defending Christian values. I also need to be bolder in witnessing to others of God’s saving grace. Jesus will return soon, and so many are without him. Thank you again for your post.
You are welcome :)
Amen we are so self centered. You hear I did this, I started that. We do nothing without Christ. He always gets the blame but never the praise.Christians have been asleep long enough wake up we can change the course of this nation if we would all get on our knees before Almighty God.He listens to His children.He Is Alive and well. Janet Honduras C.A.