“It’s all about you!”
That’s the message which constantly bombards us. Advertising, politics, and too many false preachers tell us ‘you’re worth it, go for the gusto, get what you want, you deserve to live in comfort.’ If we’re honest with ourselves many of our prayer habits might resemble this. We want it all, right now, just the way we like it, and with little cost. But this falls in dark contrast to what God’s Word says. Yes, He wants the very best for you. But his best is often so very different from our desires.
Consider Hebrews 11, the story of faith giants like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Gideon, David, and other faithful martyrs who were persecuted, flogged, sawed in half, and killed by the sword. So great were the martyrs of the faith that “the world was not worthy of them”. “They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground. THESE were commended for their faith, yet NONE OF THEM received what they had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.” (v 38-40)
Wow. Stack that truth up against the name it and claim it prosperity gospels. The truth is, it’s not all about us. It’s not about our worldly desires and ambitions and goals. It’s certainly not about lifelong efforts, however godly they may seem. For the followers of Jesus, it is simply about maintaining the faith that does God’s will. And that we can only do by the power of the Holy Spirit.
What does this look like? In Hebrews 12 it’s the vigilant and persistent race; a relay race started by the great men and women of faith before us and continued by those who follow us. It’s a race run untangled by worldly passions. Faith runners have their eyes completely fixed on Jesus, their prize, not the spectators. It’s about “enduring hardship as a discipline”, not comfort as a luxury. It’s about living in peace with others, not constantly squabbling over trivial matters. It’s about being holy, the goal of our Christian life. Not some ‘holier than thou’ pious life, but simply and profoundly being set apart for God and nothing else. It is believing we are citizens of a kingdom that cannot be shaken. Isn’t that what you desire?
In Hebrews 13 it’s persistently loving one another, honoring our marriages, being content with what you have. It is about imitating the faith of faithful leaders, not idolatrous celebrity personalities and sports stars. It’s about fidelity to God’s truth and not being carried away by all sort of false teaching. It’s about experiencing strength in God’s sufficient grace. Instead of fighting to achieve our personal goals, it’s about finding the peace that equips us for doing God’s will.
It’s not easy in my daily fight and I’m sure it’s not easy in yours either. But it’s possible. What if we lived today in the truth that it’s not all about us? What would happen if peace guarded your heart and mind instead of it being filled with fear and despair? How would it impact your family, your church and your community to live in the confidence that God answers His promises when it is best for us – even if that best is after we leave this earth? Would that be enough for you?
Let’s aim higher today, beyond ourselves.