When our deepest desire is not the things of God, or a favor from God, but God himself, we cross a threshold. Less self-focus, more God-focus. Less about me, more about him.
Do I really want God, or just stuff from God? Is my love for God dependent on Him keeping me happy, trouble-free, and content? We recognize Jesus’ sacrifice for us, but are we willing to make sacrifices to show God’s love to others? God reveals His glory to us and through us when we deny ourselves so that others see love in action.
Here are a few sample situations showing my natural self-centered response and a more God-pleasing response. I won’t tell you which represents my actual actions. Let’s just say it’s been a mixed bag…
|Situation||Self-focused response||God-pleasing response|
|I was late to a meeting||Come in frazzled and intense so everyone knows I’m swamped with important tasks.||Humbly apologize for holding them up. Adjust habits to arrive early because I consider their time more important than mine (regardless of whether I outrank them!)|
|Someone modified my carefully laid plan and it didn’t work out as well as I intended||Make sure everyone knows it was the other person who messed things up. Keep my pride and reputation in tact.||Extend grace to the other person, protect their reputation, and bear the responsibility myself. Talk to the other person about it in private if necessary.|
|Someone was upset and lashing out, and I happened to be the available target even though I wasn’t involved||Defend myself and get angry that he/she would try to blame me. Tell others how I was falsely accused.||Recognize this as a pain response and focus on their need and helping them through their pain instead of on the sting I feel from their words. Forgive and keep the story to myself.|
|I see a chore that needs done||Leave it for someone else to take care of — it’s not my job. Or maybe I do it, but make sure everyone knows what a servant I am.||Do it myself since I consider others’ time more important than my own. No need to say anything to anyone, since my service is an act of worship to God and He already knows my deeds and my motives.|
|Someone does their job and it helps you, although they didn’t do it exactly your way||Say nothing or correct their shortcomings. If I praise them for an imperfect job they might not see the need to improve.||Thank them sincerely for what they did. If it really is my place to correct their shortcomings, still start with gratitude for the good part. Handle corrections with grace and an eye toward how I can help them do better.|
We’ll never put Christ on the throne of our lives until we get ourselves off of it.