Daily Archives: December 3, 2004

Selfish to the Core

I love honesty. It can be so liberating.

Charles Moore, a member of the Bruderhof community in England, wrote about his experiences leaving society for communal living. He and his wife sold everything and left a “successful life” to join a radical Christian community. They left the selfish live of me-focused consumerism for the bliss of communal living. Charles hoped his change of lifestyle would change his obsession with himself.

But it didn’t. While the communal living has helped him feel more connected with other Christians, he wrote that he still wants his own way – even after live in community. You can change the environment, but the core problem still exists.

Charles Moore found himself resentful when friends left the community without giving an explanation. At first, he wanted to protest when the community asked him to do manual labor that did not take advantage of his academic talents. As he started to examine himself, he saw things that he did not like. Then he turned his gaze to Jesus and God began to work in him the change that he desired all along.

Charles wrote, “When we join together because of God’s love and do so in humble recognition of our own selfishness, the ego-transforming power of Christ lifts us beyond ourselves. He stands among us and joins us together in selfless abandon. Although there are personal benefits to living in community, true community consists of becoming free of oneself for the sake of love. It’s a mystery how this happens. It begins by letting go and letting God free use to be the creations we are: beings who live for the sake of others. When this occurs the bond between souls is so marvelous that personal pursuits and fulfillment pale before it.”

Charles story hit me squarely in the gut. I can really relate with it. I tend to think that my selfishness would be different if my surrounds were to only change. Or if people around me would be more loveable, it would be easier to do more for them without expecting anything in return.

Oh, how easy we can be deceived. It is not anything external that needs to change. It is really quite simple I tend to be selfish because I have a fallen nature. And there are still areas that I have not let God fix.

I know God’s track record is impeccable. But there is still a mystery to God’s ways. I remain somewhat uncertain – unable to completely trust Him.

God, change my heart. Build my faith in You. May I yield to Your transforming power and become more like Christ, the selfless, suffering King. Amen!

Joy in the Journey

My favorite music artist is Michael Card. His songs cut to the center of Biblical truth. I find his songs and lyrics soothing. Yet at the same time, they challenge me to dig for the life that I know is buried deep within my inner man. As I grow older, I am starting to view life as a journey. Everyday we can either decide to find joy in the journey or become soured by the trials of life.

So if you were to live 50 more years, what kind of life would you live? Is there joy in the journey for you? Christians get to enjoy the best life here and now while everyone else tries to get as much stuff or pleasure as possible or be as good as they can be on their own. Jesus offers life. Jesus is life. Everything else is a slow death.

The following song is simple yet profound. It describes my daily struggle and what truly makes life worth living. Stop to consider these lyrics and begin to wonder about a God who makes them come to life.

Joy in the Journey (by Michael Card)

There is a joy in the journey, there’s a light we can love on the way. There is a wonder and wildness to life, and freedom for those who obey.

All those who seek it shall find it, a pardon for all who believe. Hope for the hopeless and sight for the blind

To all who’ve been born of the Spirit and who share incarnation with him who belong to eternity, stranded in time, and weary of struggling with sin.

Forget not the hope that’s before you, and never stop counting the cost. Remember the hopelessness when you were lost?

The Great Last Hope

While reading the news yesterday, one headline got my attention. It read, “Man Leaps from Empire State Building.” I suddenly started to wonder what would lead him to take such a definite action. Having been on the top of the Empire State Building, I know that he had to climb a security fence to take his final plunge.

The newspaper report indicated that there was no identification on the body. The man hit a landing on the sixth floor, where he died instantly according to police reports. At least 31 other people have committed suicide at the Empire State Building since it opened in 1931.

When I visited the Empire State Building, I was scared just looking over the edge. I cannot image how afraid the man must have been to think about jumping off the building. Then again maybe he was more afraid to live another day. Whatever pushed him to jump must have seemed scarier than a leap off one of the tallest buildings in the country. Sometimes there seems to be no answers. Stress, bills, doubts, fear, disappointments and pain can make a person numb. It doesn’t take long for someone to feel like the walking dead. Overcome by the weight of life, there seems to be one last great hope – end it all.

Thousands of people each year take their own lives because they believe the lie that the only solution that will bring them peace is death. The devil does a good job of convincing people that they will find rest on the other side. But quite the opposite is the truth. Suicide is the ultimate leap into a never ending pit of depression and hopelessness. Suicide offers peace and brings only pain.

Suicide offers hope, shelter from the storms of life. But in reality, it creates an even bigger nightmare as the person comes to see the finality of their mistake. Suicide is the ultimate rejection of God and His saving hand. There is no hope for those who have chosen grave. But as long as you are alive, you have the change to reach up and take the hand of a loving God. Jesus is the great hope not death. Jesus gives us rest and is the Prince of Peace.