Thursday, April 03, 2008

It's Hard to Avoid the Snares of Selfishness

We are surrounded by misinformation. Not just surrounded, barraged. Most of these messages go straight to the center of self. It's hard to keep one's focus on what is true and what is right when not only our media and all worldly influences would try to convince us of lies, but our sinful selves want to believe them. "You deserve it." "You're worth it." "It's all about you." (I honestly saw that on one of the employment websites that Gary was visiting.) "You need to take care of yourself first." (Well, there are times when there is a little bit of truth to that, such as if you and your family have the flu and you can't help them until you clean yourself up, but in general it can be just a way of feeding and justifying self.) Some even edge on the spiritual: "God wants you to be happy." (That was a line in one of Katie's Christian child-song tapes: "God wants you to be happy now, not just in the hereafter." Wow.) Not that He necessarily doesn't, but it ain't necessarily so, either.
Imagine if our world were so caught up in the beauty of God and holiness that we only heard truth! Well, of course most of the advertising would cease. Still, maybe some would have its place: Imagine an ad quoting Philippians 2:3-5: "Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus..."
Wow. I suppose a person could use that verse to sell many a gift item, a luxury cruise, anything wonderful, to people who wanted to buy them, not for themselves, but for others. It's too unlike our real world to even comprehend such an advertisement going across the airwaves, or on the flip side, to imagine that there would be an effective audience for such advertising. I think if I had a business, it would be fun to experiment a bit with advertising dollars, if I could afford it, promoting truth and selflessness. Of course, I would still likely be doing it out of some selfish ambition, hoping people would buy my product so that I could profit...sigh. It's a tainted world we live in, and it's hard to imagine being fully untainted by it. I guess that's just a glimmer of why heaven is so unimaginable...and so heavenly.

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