As I survey the teen culture, this iLife is pervasive in the lives of our teens and sadly we have created it for them. We adults are responsible for a legacy of greed and selfish living. We desire what we want and we don't stop until we get it...so it's no wonder this trait has been passed onto our adolescent offspring.
I am guilty of being selfish just as anyone else is, but I live as if I am not selfish...weird little pickle I find myself in. I thought I was living life for Jesus...then I got married and had to realize that I was all too comfortable with living how I pleased. Now I had to share time, share space, share money and *gasp* actually "get permission" if you will on whether I could buy a new expensive toy or not.
That in and of itself I thought was a tough adjustment, so by the time I found out Hilary was pregnant with MJ I thought I was now a selfless human being...finally on track with living for Jesus.
Then MJ actually was born. I lost (and still do) countless hours of my precious sleep. I had to be interrupted by cries when I tried to study for my ordination. "My" money was being spent on things I never heard of before: bottles, special soap, diapers, wipes, butt cream, clothes (even though they are MUCH smaller, the price tag doesn't reflect that), baby food, car seats and much much more.
This is where it hit me: I've been living for myself, even though I thought I was living for Jesus.
I'm finally ready to admit it: I am selfish and need God to strip me of myself daily. Even some of the stuff I've "done for God" I am slowly being able to see are tinted (OK, sometimes downright plastered) with selfish motives.
Tonight, with the Middle Schoolers, I won't bore them with things they don't understand (like getting married and wiping their baby's butt), however I will share with them the story of the Rich Young Ruler from Mark 10.
Here, we see a guy that thought he was all good. He was a good man (he followed the law), a rich man (wealth equals God's favor in the Jewish mind) and a powerful man (power also translated into God's favor for many). He possessed the "trifecta" for what many Jews thought was a clear ticket into heaven. He followed the law and had the perceived favor of the Lord.
YET, Jesus says he's missing something.
His good living was not for the Lord, but himself. He loved the wealth and power he had more than following God. He was a man who lived a great life for one purpose: selfishness.
Our world is full of good people, but who are they living for?
Who are we living for?
Taking an honest look at myself, I have to be honest when I say a huge portion of what I do that needs to be given up to the Lord so it can be HIS and not MINE. I need to surrender those things to His will and say: "Lord, I want to live a life that is all about bringing Glory to Your Name and has no selfish motive behind it". This is something I have begun to pray for. I do not want to ever hold something so tight that if and when God asks for me to hand it over I refuse.
I desire favor from the Lord and blessing, but I am beginning to desire those things not for myself, but so I can return them to the Lord and see him pouring out his favor on those around me. This is new, I must admit and something I am still wrestling with.
Let's give up the iLife we're been living and begin to live lives for God and His Name!
ACAC Student Ministries Pastor