“Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.”
We live in a very materialistic and self centered society here in the U.S. According to the Census Bureau annual report on poverty, America’s poverty levels have only increased over the years even “despite Gross Domestic Product growth, soaring corporate profits, and some modest increases in total jobs and declines in unemployment.” People are still talking about the 99% long after the occupy movement because the margins between social classes are still much too large. This depth of inequality and poverty that we are experiencing in this country only exposes just how much people only look out for themselves.
I am a recent college graduate and all I hear about is people talking about fulfilling their dreams and getting rich. Often times I have heard people say that “once I make it, then I’ll give back.” It is far too easy to fall into the temptation to only think about our own lives, after all it is our lives right?
Practically everything that goes on in the world – wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important – has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out – but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity.
1 John 2:16-17
When we live only to please ourselves, then we really have no interest in God and we distance ourselves from him. According to the world and what our society tells us, all we are meant to do is achieve, get ahead, and live for ourselves The message the world sends is be selfish, and that we always need more. God sends us a different message.
If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care – then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand. Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death – and the worst kind of death at that: a crucifixion. Because of that obedience, God lifted him high and honored him far beyond anyone or anything, ever
Jesus sets the ultimate example and instead of taking advantage of his power, being God in human form, he humbled himself and became a servant to us all. He showed us that life is not about status and privilege, but that this life is meant to be lived for others. He believed and trusted in God’s way of living so much that he was willing to suffer and even die for us. The only way to tell if this actually means something to you, is what you do with your life as a result. Do you live to help other people and serve them or are you “too busy” and occupied with your own issues? It’s easy to be self focused, but a relationship with God gives us more reasons to love when we are focused on all God does for us.
So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
The Bible calls us to live by faith and that means not having our belief in things we see (the material world) but instead to look to God and the eternity that he has set up that goes beyond this world. It may sound grim, but each of us are only getting older and one day we will all die, life looks pretty sad when you think about it like that. God on the other hand changes our perspective and actually renews us from the inside out and gives us a completely new life. This is the only thing that can truly get us through the hard times that come and get through them with a smile. Let’s change our perspective and stop following the way our society tells us to live and start living the way God calls us to live.