Wednesday, September 09, 2009

The Me Centered Life

“In the midst of our growing fragmentation, we have never been more focused on the individual than we are today. This focus plays itself out in unbridled consumerism. While materialism is certainly an outgrowth of consumerism, it isn’t its primary focus. Consumerism’s primary product in our culture is narcissism. Remember, narcissism is a life in which everything is about us.” ~ Erwin McManus; Uprising

We are a funny society. We get all worked up over gas prices and then drive the most gas consuming vehicles we can find. We complain about the environment but we are willing to buy anything that is disposable and are quick to throw out last year’s model for the small improvements found on this year’s model. What this shows is that above all else “me” comes first in our society.

From a cheating spouse to the teenager looking to get high what we are ultimately after is what will make us feel good and will bring us a few moments of pleasure. The consequences of our actions are not considered because they are not part of the moment. As long as we can get what we want then ultimately that is all that matters. After all isn’t the good life found in making ourselves happy?

Here is the problem as I see it: We might find pleasure for the short term in pursuing a life that is all about ourselves; sooner or later the consequences of that type of life will sooner or later catch up to us. The pain and misery of these consequences usually outweigh any of the pleasure we sought as we tried to make a life that was focused on our desires.

The solution the world offers us to avoid the consequences of a self-centered life is to pursue a life that is even more about “me.” A person who has destroyed their life with sexual promiscuity will become even more promiscuous. The person who has shipwrecked their lives will turn to harder or different drugs to take away the pain. A life lived for “me” will always be trapped in this cycle of pleasure and consequences. Sadly, the consequences will never be connected to their pleasure seeking ways, and they will end up blaming people or circumstances for their situation.

One of the most common phrases in the New Testament is the phrase one another. We are called to love, serve, forgive, encourage, and help one another. Understanding this concept will help us to discover the full life Jesus promised us.

When we reflect on our lives we all realize that the best times in our lives have not happened while we were pursuing a life that was about us, but they happened when we invested time and love in other people. Relationships are where we experience the best life. If relationships are the most important things to us then our effort will be in loving others instead trying to gratifying our desires.

The Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 2:3-4; Don’t be selfish, don’t live to make a good impression on others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourself. Don’t think only about your own affairs, but be interest in others, too, and what they are doing (NLT). The life of a Christian is one where the focus is removed from “me” and is put on God and others. We are not the most important thing in the universe. To live our lives as if we were will lead to experiencing a very dissatisfying life.

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