special feature by Pastor’s wife, Diane Scallon
What does it mean to be self-focused? Selfish? Prideful?
Self-centered easily describes what it means to be self-focused, where people are so concerned with their own interests or well-being, that they often forget how to care about others.
How is your life self-focused?
There are ways that we do it subtly. However, there are pretty obvious ways we do it as well. For instance, do we care about our schedules, our lifestyles, and our desires more than we care about other’s schedules, their lifestyles, or their desires?
Sin basically represents who we are as humans, where our natural nature is to pursue self. The Bible states that self-centeredness is a sin, and with it brings anguish, bitterness, lack of joy, and contentiousness (Romans 2:8, James 3:16). Having a self-centered lifestyle also ignores the command God has given us to love and care for our neighbors (John 13:34-35). There is a clear command in 1 Corinthians 10:24, stating, “let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being.”
Self-focus has been something that humanity has struggled with for centuries, and regrettably, it’s getting worse. The more we steer towards self, the farther we are sailing away from God.
We need to refocus on GOD.
We cannot make God about us! We cannot make God who we want Him to be!
Can you naively fall in love with the wrong idea of God?
For example: I’m only going to love you if you give me a job; I’m only going to love you if you give me a husband. Or less direct: I will ______ if you give me ______.
Loving God is not about what He gives us. Instead, it is about what He hasgiven us! He has a plan for our lives, and we need to be ok with His plan. Our story is not going to look like our siblings’ stories, nor like our best friends’ stories. It is important to learn that God’s story for us is unique; yet, we can relate in so many ways.
We cannot have a transactional relationship with God. We should not be treating God as if He is there to serve us, when really we should be serving Him.
For example, we tend to approach the Bible asking, what does God have for me? Although not necessarily a bad thing, if we consistently are looking for what we are to gain rather how we can comprehend who God is, then we are missing something. In fact, when we do this, we are making this very “us” centered.
We should be focusing more on who God is, because He is pretty great.
Our faith should be completely saturated in God and HIS plans. God is not there to serve our desires. He is not there to provide full comfort, success, and everything you ever dreamt of. In fact, we are here to serve God. When Scripture challenges your lifestyle, how do you respond? How do you respond to hard times? When we are self-focused, we create distance. We tend to retreat and find solace in someone who affirms what we think. However, when we are God-focused, we realize that God is the one that gives us full truth.
God is not there to make us feel better about ourselves, whether we are lonely, feeling unattractive, or struggling through trials. The truth of God is that God focuses on Himself and what He offers. For example, look at the prophets Moses and Jeremiah. Each of them came with a complete sense of inadequacy. But how did God respond? God responds with affirmations of Himself. “Now go, and I WILL teach you…” God consistently reminds us of HIS power, not ours. We have to remind ourselves that we serve a limitless, powerful, and perfect God, who has a perfect plan.
We cannot create God in our own image! We cannot make God like us! God’s convictions are vastly different than ours, right?
Remember the Pharisees who worshiped a God who they made up to be like themselves? How did that work out? God is not going to agree with us, and when we sin, God convicts and exposes our sins. His requirement, then, is repentance.
Jesus says, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). We need to let go of what we think life should be like, of our selfish ambitions, of our view of who God should be… We need to focus on who God says He is.
The power of the Gospel is that it saves us. As we comprehend and believe the redemption truth more deeply, it unveils our insecurities, and it equips us to focus on God rather than self. The more we are enamored by God’s grace, perfection, and mercy, the less self-focused we become.
P.S. There is HOPE! Human nature is completely and utterly selfish, but we don’t have to stay that way. The consistent practice to care about others more than self will make it easier to refocus from selfishness.