On a recent trip to visit some very dear friends, I had an excellent conversation on the topic of “my.”
My friend mentioned this blog and, in doing so, referred to it as “your blog.”
I respectfully corrected her, saying it was not “my blog” but Kinship Radio’s blog.
She immediately conceded the point but noted that it’s common for people to speak of “my church” or any number of things that we and everyone else knows we don’t actually possess. And as we thought about this common manner of speaking, she made the point that its a symptom of our individualistic mindset.
And there was a point I had to concede. We are indeed a people who are very much self-centered. I grew up during “The Me Decade” (the 1970s) and I think its undeniable that our culture continues to focus predominantly on the glory of the individual.
And that’s not surprising. The very term “Me Decade” traces its roots back to an essay by Tom Wolfe published in the August 23, 1976, edition of New York magazine in which Wolfe promoted –among other things– the idea that the hallucinogenic drug LSD would unveil the “true and real self.” Wolfe believed revelations experienced while under the influence of hallucinogens could compete with, and even surpass, religious revelations and would lead to real enlightenment and “The Third Great Awakening.”
Somehow, Wolfe reasoned, people would become more in tune and cognizant of the true meaning of what it meant to be fully human while under the influence of a drug that makes it difficult if not impossible to distinguish hallucinations from reality, sometimes leads to irreversible psychosis, and can produce unexpected and uncontrollable “flashbacks” which can last for last for minutes, hours, weeks, months, or years.
Fifty-some years later, we have taken the concept of “my” to levels never before imagined. Look at the desktop of your computer. Do you have folders called, “My Pictures,” “My Documents,” “My Music?”
You can do an internet search with the word “My” in front of virtually any noun and find literally millions of websites that conform to that pattern.
And in all of this, as we have become more and more “me” focused, we have gradually and almost imperceptibly lost the concept that we are not about ourselves. “Me” does not and cannot exist without “we.” We all need each other –and that includes our need for self-actualization and self-fulfillment.
Jesus’ statement that the greatest commandment is to love the LORD with all that we are is followed by the command to love each other. (Mark 12:30-31)
The greatest commandment is not to love yourself. The answer is not within you, it’s within God and loving others. “You” are not even mentioned in those two most important commands. We are not designed and built as islands of self-love.
Jesus did not come to earth and die on a cross to save you and you alone. Jesus did not shed every drop of blood for you. Those memes that say if you were the only person on earth, Jesus still would have died for you are wrong. God would never have made an earth where you were the only person on it. In fact, it specifically says that when there was only one person on earth, God saw that it was not good and made a second person to help the first person. (See Genesis 2:18-23.) There is nowhere in the Bible or in any line of thinking except some weird Hollywood movie where there is only one person left one earth.
And after He had created two people, He told them to be fruitful and multiply (Genesis 1:28) and He saw that it was indeed very good. (Genesis 1:31)
Of course, sometime thereafter, the people He had created messed up the whole perfect plan because (I know you saw this coming.) –they did the exact same “me” thing that we’ve all been doing ever since then. They wanted to be their own gods. They wanted to be like God and decide for themselves what was good and wasn’t good.
And, ever since, people like Tom Wolfe and you and ME have been trapping ourselves into the same kind of thinking. I didn’t come back to God until I had totally exhausted all of my best efforts to find “enlightenment” (or whatever ridiculous hippy or new-age term was fashionable at the time) and fallen flat on my face. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t truly understand what a very lousy, very inept, very imperfect god of my life I was until I was lying face-down in the very dust He made me from.
I didn’t come anywhere near being “woke” until I woke up one morning unable to stand looking at myself in the mirror and came to the earth-shattering revelation that it’s not about me.
But, what about Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior? What about the title of this post and that song they play on Kinship Radio by Anne Wilson titled, “My Jesus?”
Isn’t He MY Jesus?
Yes, Jesus is Anne Wilson’s Jesus. He’s my Jesus and your Jesus and the whole world’s Jesus. And the whole point of Wilson’s lyrics are, “Let me tell you about my Jesus.” The point of the song is sharing the power and the glory and the salvation and the infinite love that is in Jesus for each and every person who would receive Him as Savior and Lord.
The point is not in keeping Jesus to yourself.
The point is His glory, not mine.
Bring all who claim me as their God, for I have made them for my glory. It was I who created them. Isaiah 43:7 (NLT)