Our culture is self-centered…doesn’t take a lot of effort to realize that!
From a very young age kids are told they can do anything they set their mind to, they are the best singer in the choir, the best baseball player on the field, etc. Unknowingly, we set our kids up for failure by teaching them it’s all about them and their performance on the field, the stage, in the classroom, letting who they are at their very core take a back seat to what they do. This is actually backwards to the way Jesus intends us the raise our kids, and how He intends us to grow in our relationship to Him and others! His goal for us is to first discover who we are and then allow our new nature define the things we do! We are living in an age where many parents were raised this very way! This has created a young culture of people spending much of their time on selfish desires instead of building relationships and making disciples! How cruel of a cycle it is when a self-centered adult raises kids who are…you guessed it – selfish! Reality is we are all making disciples; unfortunately, most of the disciples that are being made today are self-serving individuals who really do believe it’s all about them – at least that is what shows in their actions and interactions. After all, that’s the way they were raised, right? This cycle must be broken for The Church to get back to what Jesus designed her to be – disciple makers!
The Gospel of Jesus takes a sinner who is lost and broken and transforms them into a new creation of worth unimaginable to us. Our worth comes from God and God alone! Nothing on this earth can give us value or worth even minutely comparable to that which Jesus gave us when He died for our sins, was buried and in three days was raised to life, conquering death so that we would not have to endure the eternal punishment that comes from our sin debt! He asks only this in return from each of us – accept His gift of salvation and make Him Lord of our life. He died for our sin; therefore, we die to our selfish nature and strive to become more like Him every day! That’s a pretty incredible deal for us…don’t you think?
Here’s the rub – the Gospel, when read throughout the scriptures, is typically read as a past event not a living message. After all, the Bible has a lot of historical records jam packed into the compilation of 66 books (or letters) written over a period of approx. 1,500 years by over 40 authors…yet it tells us one beautifully redemptive story! That fact alone is a miracle that only God could have orchestrated, and ought to be evidence enough of the existence of God! But that’s another subject for discussion!
When we read the Gospel account as a past event, we typically take the conclusion that the Gospel was designed to get us into heaven – His past payment for our future benefit! While that may be an end result, it is not the total intent of His message. Remember, it’s not just about salvation; it’s also about His Lordship in our lives. When we focus on salvation alone, we still buy into the lie telling us it’s all about us and our selfish desires – Jesus died for my sin, I get to go to heaven if I accept Him, end of story. However, when we make Him Lord the focus shifts off of us and onto Jesus. We not only grasp and accept His amazing gift of salvation and the fact that we get to spend eternity with Him, we also get to spend our present, everyday lives with Him (Romans 12-1 – Message) listening to Him, taking in His word, and applying it to our lives. We take His commission to go and make disciples (Matthew 28:18-20 – NIV) and we focus on others and build relationships around us with Jesus as our guide. We read James 1:2-4 (NIV) and realize that all the trials we go through, even though they are in our lives because of this fallen, sin-sick world, are being used by God to build us up! He doesn’t’ cause the trial, but He most certainly will work through our trials to help us grow! He works all things together for our good! (Romans 8:28 – NIV)
Jesus lives and moves in our lives today so that we can grow in our faith, become more like Him, and share this incredible news with others as we seek to make disciples! He is not just a historical figure, or even just the One we get to spend eternity with. No! He is with us, here and now, loving us and guiding us through this journey called life! When we choose Jesus as our Lord, the journey will never be self-centered, it will be full of learning, growing, relationships, and adventure…kind of the way Jesus lived when He started this whole thing called The Church!