Why it pays for us to get over ourselves

It is a staunchly engraved part of our human nature to be preoccupied with our own needs and wants. All too often our preoccupation with our own ideas can inadvertently lead us to fulfill popular cliches like “he shot himself in the foot,” or “she cut off her nose to spite her face.” When, in certain circumstances, we just can’t seem to get over ourselves, we end up hurting ourselves.

One example of this came to my mind recently from Luke 7 when Jesus confronted the people of his day with their faulty mindset–

31And the Lord said, Whereunto then shall I liken the men of this generation? and to what are they like?

 32They are like unto children sitting in the marketplace, and calling one to another, and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned to you, and ye have not wept.

 33For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say, He hath a devil.

 34The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!

 35But wisdom is justified of all her children.

Jesus pointed out the biggest problem that results from people not getting over themselves–unbelief. The unbelievers of Jesus’ day were just like the unbelievers  and churchgoing doubters of today. They were easily offended if God didn’t do things according to how they thought God should do things.

In Christ’s day, children would play instruments in the markets according to the mood of the moment. If there was a celebration, they played festive songs and expected people to join in. If the mood was somber, they played sad songs and expected people to join in. That’s how they made money.

That’s the type of mentality that Jesus was up against. The people were taught that God only moved within the confines of the traditions of the religious leaders, which they claimed kept the Mosaic law, but in reality violated Mosaic law. So when John the Baptist came along and took no part in the usual practices and pleasures of life, he was rejected and they complained about him, finding him offensive to their mindset. When the Lord Jesus came along with a totally different ministry from John’s where he participated in the innocent pleasures of life, its festive celebrations, and socialized with sinners to share the gospel, he also was rejected and they complained about him since they found him offensive to how they thought a Messiah should be.

In their failure to get over themselves by considering the goals of both ministries, many of them missed out on their opportunity to get saved. John preached repentance of sin to prepare the people to genuinely seek God so they could receive the Messiah. Jesus came preaching that the kingdom of God had arrived, that God’s salvation from sin had come, and that he was the Christ. Then he proved it by his miraculous works to glorify God. Their ministries were vastly different, but the goal was the same–to exalt God by pointing lost souls to salvation. But only the true children of the kingdom could justify the wisdom of both men.

As it was in their day, so it is today in churchianity. There are staunchly traditional churches who refuse to believe that God still uses certain gifts like tongues or healing or prophecy. They reject true ministers of God that minister such blessings to glorify God and they end up missing out on God’s benefits because of their doubts. Then there are the seeker-sensitive, emergent churches who believe that the Bible should not be the thing that dictates what is proper to do in church. They believe sound doctrine should be set aside so we as Christians can get unbelievers to like us better in order to increase the numbers of people attending church. Any godly minister not buying into their mentality is then rejected and the “seeker-sensitives” miss out on some of God’s blessings as well.

Those who reject Christ altogether are the same way. Some unbelievers have the mindset that man is basically good. Since humans were powerful enough to create themselves and are basically good, they can solve their own problems without a god or they can solve their problems no matter what god they choose. Others question the goodness of a God who can allow so many bad things to happen since their view of how God should be is totally different than the way that the God of the Bible is.

So have you gotten over yourself yet?

–Harry A. Gaylord–

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