Thursday, October 2, 2008

The disease of self

I first posted this on myspace about a year ago. I decided to bring it back because not everyone that reads this blog will have seen my last one, it fits with the "This Is Your Life" post I made a few weeks ago and to be honest it is an issue i still grapple with.

Earlier this week i sat down to read a recent edition of a popular Christian magazine. Normally I would pay very little attention to the advertisements. One caught my eye. It was a full page colorful add featuring the latest and greatest in digital pianos. I'm sure it's a great piano. What caught me was the text. Under the heading "Abolish idle worship" the article continued with "Inspire your congregation with a (piano name).... and all together banish complacency.....can add excitement to your worship services.."

At first i was a bit indignant. After all, how can a piano cause real worship? Surely we aren't that petty that the quality of the piano tones makes a difference to whether we really worship. I was going to come here and give a long-winded rant about it.

And then it hit me. I am everything i was going to rant about. Oh i can't say piano tones and effects have ever been my obsession but i can be just as petty and worse. I have a bad habit of making it all about me, myself and I. My comfort, my happiness, my desires. God's glory has a habit of getting sidelined. I don't think I'm the only one ether.

As I'm writing this, I've been listening to DC talk. I thought these lyrics from In The Light were just so spot on.
The disease of self runs through my blood
It's a cancer fatal to my soul
Every attempt on my behalf has failed
To bring this sickness under control

The disease is running rampant through our society, through our churches, though myself. You could say that it is embedded in our fallen nature. As a Christian i know my life is not about me and that God is absolutely deserving of my all.
And yet.....
How many times have i lost focused on God during worship time at Church over thoughts of something unrelated or a totally trivial distraction around me?
How many times has my bank statements showed too much spending on self and not enough flowing towards things that will help each others?
How many times has my bible stayed in my bag in favor of something on TV?
How many times have I not helped someone because I couldn't be bothered?
How many times have I insisted on my own way over trivial things?
How many times have I been grumpy and ranted when things did not go my way?

It's way too many to count, i think the answer would scare me. I have the disease. I could blame the marketers, blame the distractions but deep down I know God is not impressed by my excuses and that no amount of excuses will help.

We chase our own fulfillment but if fulfilling self was the answer Hollywood would be the happiest place on earth with all its rich, popular and beautiful people and yet it is filled with broken relationships and broken lives. Our consumerism is consuming our souls. Trying to patch up the problem with good intentions and good deeds can only go so far. I don't need to change my life, i need to daily lay it down. I need to have my spirit renewed not my flesh fed. I need to give God his rightful place not just when it's convenient. Maybe as i stop running after what i thought I wanted I will find what I really need.

Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. (Matthew 10:39)


  1. It's very true that we are all that way. You can see that even in the smallest kids... from the time we are born we cry to get what we want and don't want to share. We get older and it continues. I think there's a reason that Paul said that everyone looks out for themselves and talked about how only Timothy cared for their souls in the letter he was writing at the time. When I tried to talk to my friend about the fact that her 24 year old son was using crack and slipping farther and farther into drug addiction ... using in her house, her response was "I just don't want to know. I get too stressed out and I can't deal with it." Someone said that "The rot is in us all." But I do believe that as we yeild our lives to God that He can transform how we view others and treat others. In the process of learning to love and serve other people, God can shift our focus off ourselves. Great post!

  2. By the way I posted a viedo that had part of that horrible viral video in it so you could see.

  3. hi joanna. I'm a first time visitor to your blog. I really enjoyed this post - i definitely think consumerism is consuming us, not that we're powerless. Like the Bible says, you either serve God or money. I also lose track of the real goal sometimes, I think it's important that people write posts like this one. Besides, you blog about music! I'm so adding you to my blogroll :)