“The motivation of transparency is important. The culture teaches people to be candid and blunt, but this usually revolves around self-centeredness – you have a right to express your true feelings and your rage. This is an entitlement. Instead, the Christian way to approach transparency is to realize out candidness should be motivated by a desire to have a pure heart before God and others.”
―David Kinnaman, unChristian
A few weeks ago in the break room, at my place of employment, there was a young lady, taking photos of herself, and doing so over and over again. As culturally removed as I may seem, my lack of participation in the culture is not an indicator of my knowledge of the culture; only to say, I know what a selfie is when I see one. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, a “selfie” is a self portrait taken most commonly through a camera phone, and typically sent through text or uploaded to social media. The “selfie” is a concise, rectangular package, summing up our cultures self centered age. While self centeredness has always existed, placing oneself at the center of existence, has a particular presence in this day and age. Every ideology from evolution to Christianity, have examples of people buying into worldviews and philosophy which says man is the center of everything. One of the most humorous, albeit kind of disturbing, examples is during holidays such as Christmas, Easter, etc. Often on major holidays, folks post photos in celebration of the holiday with captions like “praise the Lord Jesus was risen” or “Christ was born today”, yet the picture is nothing more than their face. Maybe this means something, maybe it doesn’t, but I think for many an unconscious self love has been bred by the culture, leaving people without a clue, seeing it as nothing more than an organic trend, meant to do no harm. If you surf the internet you will see this is not something by any means exclusive to photographs either. Just look through people’s photos on Facebook. How one person can have over two thousand photos of their self is beyond me, yet I never cease to be amazed at how common this has become. Trust me you are probably the only person interested in seeing a thousand pictures of you or your face, unless you have a creeper, stalker, tailing your profile (that is a whole different topic entirely.) You can find manifestation of self-centeredness in blogs, videos, tweets, statuses, and pretty much any medium, anybody has the opportunity to express their selves through. Even on my blog, my name is in the title, with a little caricature of none other than myself in cartoon form. Why does it have to be the Chronology of Chris, what is so significant about my life to name a blog after it? The problem with a culture so accepting of self centeredness is that our flesh loves itself, so any opportunity to be indulged it will take full advantage of us, and often we do not even know what is happening. This may work for the humanist or existentialist (in the end does it really?), but for the Christian self-centeredness and even to most extents individualism does not work.
Self Service or God Service?
It is not hard to find an attitude of self centeredness amongst Christians. We are no less human than anyone else and despite the standards the world tries to impose on us, we are just as capable of sinning as the best of them. For the Christian though, we should be in a constant fight to keep ourselves out of the center and keep Christ in. As with anything this is easier said than done.
I love in Romans, 1st Corinthians, Ephesians, and Colossians how Paul refers to the Church as the body, Paul uses the human body as a metaphor for the Christian body. This is such an intimate concept to describe those of us in Christ. We are not separate bodies operating on their own, but one body, together. We as believers are meant to be one entity. I think of my dear friends, how we are all wired with different gifts and abilities, and how I would be lost without the parts they bring to the body. Unfortunately, there are many parts of the body that try to operate independently. Imagine how awful it would be if your body parts all tried to function independently and the turmoil that would come as a result. I should think it would be quite hellish. You may physically never have to experience your body parts pulling their own direction disunited, but spiritually you see this happening throughout Christianity all the time. Individualism is great, God has made us individually, with our own set of gifts and abilities, what we have to do though is use that individualism for the entire body, not just for ourselves. That is all that this post is about. We need to be mindful about whether our position in Christ or our flesh is taking precedence. Maybe for you a selfie is just a selfie, or maybe it is a symptom of something deeper, whatever the case, we were not put on this Earth to serve our self, but to serve God. Who are you serving?