Summary: In a society that seems to be obsessed with self love the concept of crucifying self seems a little odd. This message looks at what it means to crucify our sinful nature.
Enough with the selfies.
And you thought that selfies were harmless. When selfies first came out I thought taking pictures of yourself with a cell phone was a passing fad. But no, it seems that they are here to stay. All kinds of people are taking pictures of themselves, from the famous to the unknown.
And they take their pictures with their new clothes and their old clothes, blue clothes and no clothes. Sounds like a Dr. Seuss book. They take their selfies at births, weddings and funerals. There seems to be no limit to where or when someone will take a selfie. But in case, like me, you thought selfies were a new fad here are Arnold and Ellen Hog using the first selfie stick ever in 1926.
And while they may seem like harmless fun there has recently been a number of studies linking the habit to Narcissism, (that is self-love), addictive personality traits and other mental health issues.
And selfies aren’t new, before you could take a picture of yourself there was always the person who was demanding that you take a picture of them. If you go back through your prints you will find them, at birthday parties, weddings and family events. Even though it wasn’t their birthday party, their wedding or their family.
And long before there were camera’s there were selfies, I mentioned the link between selfies and Narcissism. The term Narcissistic means “love of self” and it comes from a Greek myth about the young hunter Narcissus. Narcissus was known for his beauty and he was his own biggest fan.
One day while walking by a pool he saw his own reflection in the water and not realizing that it was just a reflection he fell in love with it.
Unable to pull himself away from his reflection, Narcissus lost his will to live and he stared at his reflection until he died.
And the philosophy of selfies goes clear back to the fall of mankind, the idea and question of “What’s in it for me.” But it doesn’t end there, I read somewhere that Alice Roosevelt once said of her father Theodore, “Father always had to be the centre of attention, when he went to a wedding he wanted to be the bride. When he went to a funeral, he was sorry he couldn’t be the corpse.”
And well this focus on self has been around forever, it is a philosophy that fits in with the concept of Holiness that we’ve been talking about for the past couple of weeks?
We started by talking about the Call of Holiness and it was there that we discovered that Holiness is being completely sold out to God’s will for our lives. And last week we looked at the Way of Holiness and peeked into Isaiah 35 where the prophet told about the Highway of Holiness. And we discovered that when we stayed on the highway of God’s will that we would be safe from the Devil and that it was a way that ultimately led to heaven.
And so this week we are looking at “The Price of Holiness”. And maybe you are thinking “a price, I thought holiness would be free?” Well it is free but it’s not cheap.
Because if living a Holy Life means that God is in control then it means that self has to relinquish control, and that is costly.
Paul was so serious about that concept that he tells us in the scripture that was read this morning Romans 6:6 We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin.
And that is a metaphor that he uses over and over again in his writing, listen to the words he wrote in the book of Galatians when he says Galatians 2:20 My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Did you catch that? “Our sinful selves were crucified with Christ and my old self has been crucified with Christ.” Wow, and in 2016 that statement really doesn’t mean a lot to us, but 2000 years ago it was an incredibly powerful statement because crucifixion was something that everybody was at least somewhat familiar with.
It's only been in the past hundred years that civilized societies have stopped killing people in public. As a matter of fact, it’s been almost 150 years since the last public hanging occurred in Canada. And while the last public execution happened in Canada in 1869 and in the US in 1936 public executions still happen in countries around the word and they remain the same type of spectacle that there were 2000 years ago.