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Not About Me

 

Not About Me
By Celine Zoppelt

I was at a wedding last night, and the groom was so moved by what was happening in his life, that he cried throughout the vow exchange. I believe that at that moment he was envisioning that this woman, standing before him, becoming his wife, would be the answer to his deepest longings for peace, happiness, joy, companionship, whatever. In truth, I'm sure their union will provide much of what he longs for, which is basically a release from having to live his life in loneliness. But there will come a time, when a good marriage and deliverance from loneliness will no longer be the conditions meeting his deepest needs. It will depend on him respecting that which is outside of himSELF.

All relationships begin with the hope of satisfying our deep inner longings. And that is good in that God created these longings in us for Himself and also for a life bonded with others. But we achieve that only when we respect that which is outside of ourselves. Just what do I mean by that statement? It may be better understood with an illustration of my own struggle with this issue. The concept of respecting that which is outside of mySELF is almost contrary to what it believed today. Unfortunately, our present life philosophy in this day and age, in this country, is to float our own boats and to see to our own needs. Seldom is self-sacrifice for the sake of others considered a noble gesture. Many times it is even considered ridiculous -- fanatic. Even those of us who are members of the body of Christ are seldom able to let go of our own needs for the needs of others.

We hang on to grudges, hurts, slights, and the need to be right, instead of hanging on to the Word of God which says that love hardly ever notices when wrong is done to it. (somewhere in I Cor. 13) Oh, we notice wrongs done to us all right. Then we may spend years trying to quell the bitterness that bubbles up in our thoughts and speech. It may take years for us to look at that brother or sister without the niggling thought running through our heads, "They have hurt me. They don't deserve my friendship."

We deceive ourselves into thinking we don't know what God wants us to do. While all the time we take God's directive and put it next to our pride, and if our pride and self-preservation become wounded by it, we quietly shelve God's directive away. We are so disobedient! We constantly measure our capacity to obey God by whether or not we must sacrifice our dignity, self-worth, and pride in doing so.

At the wedding I attended last night, I saw a couple who had once, well maybe more than once, offended me by the things they said about my husband and myself. I found I could not let go of my pride. I wanted to shun them - to be cool towards them. At the reception, I noticed they were standing around probably looking for someone to sit with, someone they knew. I guess they didn't find anyone, so they left early. Later on, I realized that I could have made them feel more comfortable by inviting them to sit with us. But I didn't. I was more concerned with my own comfort. I justified my attitude by saying to myself that God doesn't want us to sit in the seat of scoffers or take up companionship with those who slander. Like I haven't done the same things myself. Like I haven't needed His forgiveness for such things myself. What should I have done? If I had acted with integrity, I would have tossed the wounds they inflicted on me over my shoulder, and walked towards them with the heart attitude that God loves these people, and wants to forgive them as much as He forgives me. I would have treated them with the same respect that I would have liked to be treated with.

But I chose not to respect something outside of mySELF - namely the heart of God. I chose my pride, which can only send me to hell. God forgive me - break me - help me to obey.

Humility is evident when someone cares more for others than themselves. I can respect what you say because I don't think I have ALL the knowledge there is. I can submit to your direction because you may be hearing from God . I can forgive you because my sins may be exceedingly worse than yours. I can obey because I am more interested in God's wishes than mine. That is humility. The self has been subjugated to the Spirit. The thoughts have come into captivity to the Word of God. The feelings have been put into perspective with the Heart of God. I am not all - He is. And only in realizing that He is all, will I be part of His body.

If Jesus truly is the head of our hearts, then we can truly function as His body. There can only be one head to a body - we can not all preserve our heads as we join the body. The body can only function properly if all the members take on the humility is requires to obey that which is outside of themselves - Jesus - the Head - the leader. Just what do we obey? How about the simple directive of Jesus - "Love the Lord your God with your whole heart and your whole soul and your whole mind, and love your neighbor as yourself."

That's a simple one to remember. Then there are all the "one another" verses, i.e., "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." Eph. 4:32
There are a lot of verses much like that one. "Esteeming each other more highly than yourself."
Now that takes humility.

And it takes humility to function as a body - all parts being subjected to the head for directions - looking not unto themselves, but only unto the head. The parts of the body must be humble towards each other and ultimately humble towards Jesus Himself, the head of the body.

By respecting that which is outside of ourselves, God the Father, and our brothers and sisters, we will be able to successfully form that which even the rocks are crying out to see - the body of Christ.

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