: an image of oneself taken by oneself using a digital camera especially for posting on social networks.
We are a self-absorbed people. Everywhere we look or listen things are geared to our selfish desires.
For example, one chain restaurant has a jingle that encourages us to have “breakfast just the way I say”.
Years ago, a fast-food restaurant set itself apart by telling us to “have it your way”. No longer did we have to conform to ordering a standard sandwich but could choose our toppings at the drive-through.
And selfies have become a way of sharing where we are, what we are feeling, something new about ourselves, or just to say, “Hi – I’m still here!”
I’m not against selfies. I’ve taken a few, although I’m not very good at it. (there seems to be a talent to taking selfies that I don’t have)
It just got me to thinking. If we are always focused on taking the right photos of ourselves to share on social media could we be missing an opportunity to share something in our surroundings that might positively impact others or inspire them to look at their world differently?
As I pondered all of this I also realized that being focused on ourselves is not a new thing.
From the very beginning when Eve chose to eat the fruit that God instructed them to leave alone we have given up potential blessings because we do not look past the moment and our own desires.
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Genesis 3:6
The next verse tells that when they ate the fruit their eyes were opened and they realized they were naked. When they heard the Lord walking in the garden as He did with them each day they were frightened and tried to hide from the One they loved. By choosing what looked good to them at that moment and craving instant satisfaction from the food that didn’t last Eve and Adam were cast from the garden and faced consequences of pain, suffering and hard work the rest of their lives.
The Israelites are another example of selfishness that led to suffering. They grumbled & complained on the way to the land God had promised them, thinking only of their present state and what they were lacking instead of the blessings God had for them at the end of the journey.
For forty years I was angry with that generation;
I said, ‘They are a people whose hearts go astray,
and they have not known my ways.’
So I declared on oath in my anger,
‘They shall never enter my rest.’” Psalm 95:10-11
The journey that should have taken 11 days (see Deuteronomy 1:2) took them over 40 years and only two of the people who were promised that land lived to reap the blessings God had for them there. Only Joshua and Caleb thought more about following God than their own desires and were the only two whom God allowed to cross into the land.
As Christians we are called to die to self.
I don’t think this means God denies us pleasure in things that we enjoy but rather that our focus should be on His desires for our lives and showing His love to others. By focusing outwardly on God’s creation or the good qualities in others our perspective changes. We are more open to God’s leading instead of being led astray by instant gratification.
Paul pointed out how easily we can be swayed in one of his letters to the Corinthians:
But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning,
your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.
2 Corinthians 11:3
Sharing our lives with others helps us keep in touch and can be inspiring. We can encourage others by our accomplishments and help change their perspective on their own abilities and challenges. It is when we focus more on ourselves than our devotion to Christ that we risk running into trouble and possibly miss the blessings God has for us.
As this weekend begins I’m going to work on focusing outward and less on myself. Will you join me?
Blessings and peace to you…