It’s Not About You
There is no greater love than to lay down ones life for your friends. – NLT
Put your life on the line for your friends. -MSG
John 15 vs 13
From time to time I try to humanise Jesus’ childhood, I sort of fill in the blanks between twelve year old Jesus; teaching at the synagogue and thirty year old Jesus chilling, turning water to wine, raising the dead all that cool stuff. For fun, my sister and I come up with fun scenarios of what He could have been like as a teenager or young adult and I can’t help but picture this person who went radically out of his way for other people. He’d do all the chores in His house and His neighbours houses just because He is Jesus, the perfect example of righteousness and love.
Every single time I read the gospels I am convicted and just in awe of the levels of compassion that Jesus showed because, it shows me of the requirements of selflessness that I as a Jesus follower should aspire to. Towards the end of last year, the Holy Spirit kept making it 1000 percent clear that my Christianity is ineffective if I don’t realise that it is not about me.I began to notice that almost every Christian principle if stripped down to the core is a call to serve others, for example: Jesus tells us to be the light, to let our light shine. #Cool. However, He doesn’t stop there, contrary to our modern individualistic take; being the light is not just so we can be shiny . In fact, its far from it, we aren’t called to a personalised glow and or a solo “litness” instead, Jesus says: “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven”. Rather, we are to let our light shine so others can see our glow and become curious about the Source. We are conduits, a channel through which people can seek the Plug (God). This also means then, that we must STOP hiding our light, when we have within us a light that dispels darkness it becomes extremely selfish of us to keep it tucked away from those who need the direction and clarity that comes from that light. It is clear and worth recognising that sometimes we don’t show our light because we are afraid, we are afraid to be too shiny, we are afraid to glare so obviously in peoples faces. Marianne Williamson said it so brilliantly:
Our Deepest Fear
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you NOT to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people around you wont feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. We were born to make the glory of God manifest within us. IT IS NOT JUST IN SOME OF US IT IS IN EVERYBODY. And as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
We must be aware of the fact that fear is not an excuse anymore because Jesus has overcome fear. God has solved that problem and is waiting for us to walk in courage and altruistically show up for people.
The notion of the command to love is also pregnant with the idea of charity. Love is such a Christian word, we say it all the time “Love God, love People”. In fact, most churches have it as their motto but, how many of us are really ready to love like Jesus did. In Jesus’ recorded life we see time and time again a man who constantly put other people first. It was never actually about Him up till the moment he died. We see this selflessness in His first miracle at Cana,He clearly said that His hour had not yet He was presented with a need to be met and He met that need. We see the same thing with the feeding of the five thousand in Mark 6, in verse 30 we have Jesus saying to His disciples “Come with me, lets rest a while” but after seeing the crowds the compassion he had in his heart overcame His desire for rest. Every time I read that story I pause and I think of all the times I have backed out of commitments to other people because I just didn’t feel like it. But every opportunity I miss to interact with people is me neglecting sharing my love with any and every person. I’m not here trying to romanticise burnout because its real and we must care about our mental and physical well being instead I’m trying to help us understand that we are simply not the centre of the universe, the world does not and should not revolve around whether we feel like going out of our way for people. Its terrribly simple: You + Jesus = Other people first. Not in a self patronising way but with pure intentions. Even in His last breaths Jesus saved one more soul and lifted a prayer for His persecutors. #kindnessgoals.
Putting other people first is one of the hardest things to do as human beings because it goes against every fibre of our being, we are naturally selfish creatures, its a self preservation mechanism. You see it in babies, they think the world revolves around them and to be honest it should because they need the attention to foster their all round growth. If they don’t cry to get our attention we wouldn’t know that they needed to be fed, or changed or burped, but a sign of maturity and strength is realising that other people are more important than we are. Paul is so radical about selflessness that he goes as far as saying that we must see other people as better than ourselves (Phillipians 2 verse 3). Its imperative that our moments of strength are not for personal status but for service and our moments of weakness are still not about us but about what God is teaching us and will do for other people through us.