Sermon for 1/7/2007
It’s All About Me
A. It’s all about me! Let’s think about it:
B. I take care of my family. Why? Because it’s all about me. I take care of my family so they will take care of me. I do things for my wife so that she will love me.
C. I have children that I raise so that they will grow up and make me proud. I want them to be healthy, wealthy and wise. Why? Because it’s all about me. I want to brag on them and their accomplishments. If they don’t help my self esteem, then I don’t talk about them much.
D. I go to work. Why? Because it’s all about me. I need to provide a comfortable living for me and my family. I need to feel important in my community. I need to feel powerful because I have money and status. It’s all about me.
E. I go to the gym to work out. Why? Because it’s all about me. I need to have a good looking body so that people will want to be around me. I don’t want people to be ashamed of me. I want to be able to do things that will benefit me.
F. I help out at the local civic organization. Why? Because it’s all about me. I want people to see that I care. Not that I really do, because it’s all about me, but I have to appear to care so that people will care about me. I give to charities not because it will help others, but because it will help me on my taxes, it will help me to appear charitable to others.
G. Every area of life I make sure that it is all about me.
H. Generation Me by Jean Twenge says: We simply take it for granted that we should all feel good about ourselves, we are all special, and we all deserve to follow our dreams. GenMe is straightforward and unapologetic about our self-focus. In 2004’s Conquering Your Quarter life Crisis, Jason, 25, relates how he went through some tough times and decided he needed to change things in his life. His new motto was "Do what’s best for Jason. I had to make me happy; I had to do what was best for me in every situation."
I. Americans use these phrases so often that we don’t even notice them anymore. Dr. Phil uttered both "respect yourself" and "stop lying to yourself" within seconds of each other on a "Today" show segment on New Year’s Resolutions. One of his bestselling books is entitled Self Matters.
J. Young people have learned these self-lessons very well. In a letter to her fans in 2004, Britney Spears, 23, listed her priorities as "Myself, my husband, Kevin, and starting a family." We don’t have to hear that twice to get the point. We take it for granted that we should put ourselves first on our list of priorities – it would be blasphemy if you didn’t. Twenty-year-old Maria says her mother often reminds her to consider what other people will think. "It doesn’t matter what other people think," Maria insists. “What really matters is how I perceive myself. The real person I need to please is myself."
K. Smart marketers have figured this out, too. In the late 1990s, Prudential replaced its longtime insurance slogan "Get a Piece of the Rock" with the individualistic "Be Your Own Rock." The United States Army, perhaps the last organization one might expect to focus on the individual instead of the group, has followed suit. Their slogan, adopted in 2001, is "An Army of One."
L. It’s all about me. It’s about what I want and what I desire. The universe revolves around me. This might make you sick. It is so easy to spot selfishness in others and easy to ignore or justify it in ourselves.
M. Jean Twenge says, “"Be yourself," "Believe in yourself," "You must love yourself before you can love someone else." These are some of our culture’s most deeply entrenched beliefs. It is the teachings of our society.
N. She goes on to say, “We live in a time when high self-esteem is encouraged from childhood, when young people have more freedom and independence than ever, but also far more depression, anxiety, cynicism, and loneliness. Why is that? Because it is all about me! Focusing on self leads to depression, anxiety, cynicism and loneliness.
O. How do we avoid this trap?
Thesis: I have three Scriptures for us this morning that will help us to avoid the trap of, “It’s all about me.”
(1 Pet 2:9 NIV) But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
A. Andrei Bitov, a Russian novelist, grew up under the atheistic Communist regime. But God got his attention one dreary day. He recalls, “In my twenty seventh year, while riding the metro in Leningrad I was overcome with despair so great that life seemed to stop at once, preempting the future entirely, let alone any meaning. Suddenly, all by itself, a phrase appeared: Without God life makes no sense. Repeating it in astonishment, I rode the phrase up like a moving staircase, got out of the metro and walked into God’s light.
B. Amy Grant- Come on out come on out Come on out come on out into the light
There is no jury There is no judge Ready and waiting Are the steady arms of love
C. Jesus said, (John 12:46 NIV) I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.
D. The darkness is when we make ourselves God.
D. Rich Warren in Purpose Driven Life, “Many people try to use God for their own self-actualization, but that is a reversal of nature and is doomed to failure. You were made for God, not vice versa, and life is about letting God use you for his purposes, not you’re using him for your own purpose.”
E. He goes on to say, “It’s not about you. The purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment, your peace of mind, or even your happiness. It’s far greater than your family, your career, or even your wildest dreams and ambitions. If you want to know why you were placed on this planet, you must begin with God. You were born by his purpose and for his purpose.”
G. A poem by Russell Kelfer says it well: You are who you are for a reason. You’re part of an intricate plan. You’re a precious and perfect unique design, Called God’s special woman or man. You look like you look for a reason. Our God made no mistake. He knit you together within the womb, you’re just what he wanted to make. The parents you had were the ones he chose, and no matter how you may feel, They were custom designed with God’s plan in mind, and they bear the Master’s seal. No, that trauma you faced was not easy. And God wept that it hurt you so; But it was allowed to shape your heart so that into his likeness you’d grow. You are who you are for a reason; You’ve been formed by the Master’s rod. You are who you are, beloved, Because there is a God!
H. Because there is a God, it’s time to settle this issue. Who are you going to live for- yourself or God? If you live for yourself (it’s all about me), you just exist. Life has no real meaning except to eat, drink and be merry, get your jollies, kicks while you can. What a miserable existence!
I. purely Selfish, Sir Walter Scott wrote:
High though his titles, proud his name,
Boundless his wealth as wish can claim;
Despite those titles, power, and pelf,
The wretch, concentred all in self,
Living, shall forfeit fair renown,
And, doubly dying, shall go down
To the vile dust, from whence he sprung,
Unwept, unhonour’d, and unsung.
J. Give plan of salvation. (Mat 16:25 NIV) For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.
(Eph 1:12 NIV) in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.
A. Rich Warren says, “It’s all for him. The ultimate goal of the universe is to show His glory. It is the reason for everything that exists, including you. God made it all for his glory.”
B. Everything created by God reflects his glory in some way. We see it everywhere, from the smallest microscopic form of life to the vast Milky Way, from sunsets and stars to storms and seasons. Creation reveals our Creator’s glory. (Psa 19:1) The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
C. When anything in creation fulfills its purpose, it brings glory to God. Birds bring glory to God by flying, chirping, nesting, and doing other bird like activities that God intended. Even the lowly ant brings glory to God when it fulfills the purpose it was created for. God made ants to be ants, and he made you to be you.
D. Andrae Crouch in My Tribute- Just let me live my life, Let it be pleasing Lord to Thee, And should I gain any praise, Let it go to Calvary. To God be the glory
E. (James 1:17 NIV) Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
F. We love our families, for us, no, for the glory of God. We raise our children, for us, no, For the glory of God. We work, for us, no, for the glory of God. We keep up our bodies, minds and spirits, for us, no, for the glory of God. We serve in the church and the community for us, no, for the glory of God.
(Isa 43:21 NIV) the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise.
A. One of our purposes for God’s glory is to praise Him. It is our duty as God’s creation and God’s redeemed people to give our praise with our lips and also with our lives.
B. Few things feel better than receiving praise and appreciation from someone else. God loves it, too. He smiles when we express our adoration and gratitude to him.
C. Bringing enjoyment to God, living for his pleasure, is a grand purpose for our life. This is what God created us for, for his pleasure.
D. An amazing thing happens when we offer praise and thanksgiving to God. When we give God enjoyment, our own hearts are filled with joy!
E. Rich Warren- My mother loved to cook for me. Even after I married Kay, when we would visit my parents, Mom prepared incredible home cooked feasts. One of her great pleasures in life was watching us kids eat and enjoy what she prepared. The more we enjoyed eating it, the more enjoyment it gave her. But we also enjoyed pleasing Mom by expressing our enjoyment of her meal. It worked both ways. As I would eat the great meal, I would rave about it and praise my mother. I intended not only to enjoy the food but to please my mother. Everyone was happy.
F. It works the same way with God. We enjoy what God has done for us, and when we express that enjoyment to God, it brings him joy- but it also increases our joy.
G. We are a depressed, stress filled, cynical, and lonely society. Why? Because we are so focused on ourselves. It’s all about me. The amazing thing is that when we focus on God, something other than ourselves, we are joyful, peaceful, positive and fulfilled. With that, we have more strength to do what God created us to do.
H. Our challenge this year is to praise the Lord more than we have. 3 times a day, maybe work our way up to 7 times a day. Let’s try to focus not so much on our problems but on our great and awesome God.
There was an elderly Christian whose advancing years had taken their toll on her memory. As her health faded the time came that she could recite but a single verse (2 timothy 1:12) "I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I’ve committed unto HIM against that day”. Even these words slowly slipped away from her memory UNTIL only a few days of he LIFE remained and friends would hear her repeat just seven words.” that which I’ve committed unto him” Finally as the hour of the women’s death neared and her memory was all but gone. She voiced a single word repeatedly; it was all she could remember. HIM! HIM! HIM!