28 05 2014

The popular move to make with your cell phone camera these days is to snap what is called a “selfie.” A “selfie” is a picture that you take of – surprise! – “yourself.” The word “selfie” only entered the dictionary this past year but self-centeredness and self-aggrandizing and self-obsession have been around since that fatal day Adam and Eve chose to eat forbidden fruit for a snack instead of what God packed in their lunch bags.

The other night I was at a Youth Group function at the Lighthouse Church and I noticed this one young lady sitting in the back just taking picture after picture of yes, you guessed it, herself. She informed me that she was about to put every one of these portraits on her Facebook page. Now the irony of it all is that there she was probably going about her business so that others would notice her when there she was smack dab amidst a crowd of real human beings! But rather than look up and notice and maybe smile to grab the attention of another living and breathing guy or girl in the room, she never looked up. She let her thumbs do the walking so that her “selfies” could do her talking.

Today I want to cry out, “Enough with the “selfies!” I have learned that the best way to receive attention is to be willing to give it to others. The optimum way to be loved is to take a step of faith to risk and reach out and get involved in practically loving others. Even Jesus said that there was more of a satisfied completeness that comes when we look to give our best away rather than figure out just how to store it all up for ourselves.

When you think about it, God has called us to be countercultural. Christians were always meant to go against the everyday flow. The last would be first. Those willing to admit the fact that they are poor in spirit would become rich in all that matters most in their souls. The broken pieces of a wounded warrior would be sculpted into masterpieces by the touch of the Master’s hand and the lost would finally be found. So, in a society that has become overly obsessed with their own reflection, why don’t we better understand and behave like we believe that the key to ultimate fulfillment is to get our eyes off of ourselves, concentrate on Jesus and then go out of our way so we can be like our Lord in all of his ways? Stop flashing photos of you. Start shining the blessing beams of sincere recognition and appreciation upon those who live around you. Stop hogging the spotlight when the true essence of faith is to offer the best of our attention and intentions upon those that God has planted around us. Live to give and focus on a frame that doesn’t have you as the main subject!

Love is not a solo act. God so loved the world that he gave! What did he give us? The absolute best of what he had. He gave us himself. God could have been content to take “selfies” for all eternity and in the infiniteness of who he is as Father, Son and Holy Spirit never run out of new things to be full of wonder about. But he shaped us in his own image to become portraits of his mercy and grace and truth and love. In seeing us, we see others. In loving God, we are driven to love others and when we are finding our pleasure in serving the King, we are content and as we should be.

Lots of people take “selfies’ to show off their so called style but I believe that a person has no style until they find their design in the drawings of the ultimate designer. God made us for his good pleasure and when we are selfless, we too find our party! So maybe today the best thing you can do is to not look in the mirror and please keep your cell phone camera facing outward rather than inward. Look up and see who might need a word of encouragement. Look up and rather than communicating with your thumbs, try your tongue and speak life sentences into those around you who are starving for a little kindness. In a “selfie” world, let’s be selfless and let’s be shining bright as we show others not what we look like but what Jesus has made us look like because we have allowed him to redeem and renew us! No photo shopping necessary. It all starts with a simple prayer that asks God to open the eyes of your heart and enlarge the territory of your attention span.



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