One of the things that irritates us the most in our present culture is seeing a self-centered person. That’s ironic though, because we are probably the most self-centered generation in a long time, at least on the surface (even though that particular sin has been around much longer than millennials have though, as I will show). Maybe we can’t stand it so much because it reminds us of the same undesirable quality in us. That is another prophetic statement for another time though.
Where did this come from? Well I have a sneaking suspicion that we had a tutor with this. You see before people ever tried to force the world to revolve around them – whether consciously or unconsciously – there was one that had already tried it. You see the one who already paved the way before us was a part of the church before there was a church, (some of you aren’t surprised by that). According to the information the Bible gives us, Satan was a worship leader before he was a master villain (Ezekiel 28:13). Lo and behold, like many in ministry he let the worship come to him instead of go through him. He liked the idea of being worshipped so much he tried to exalt his own throne above God’s (Isaiah 14:13).
Not good. He was cast down to the earth and if you know the Garden of Eden story then you know what happened next. He tricked, more like coerced, Adam and Eve with a question. His conversation with them shifted the focus from obedience to God’s command to being like God (Genesis 3:5) Ever since then we haven’t let that habit go. Maybe it really bothers us because we weren’t created for it and it goes against the very framework that we were created for. So you could call it a malfunction. If we don’t operate in the way we were designed to operate, we won’t have what we were designed to have.
You know what else self-centered people don’t have? Joy. That’s right, when you spend so much time trying to force the world to revolve around you that you forget it revolves around the Son (catch the wordplay). Anyways, we weren’t created for that, and when we think that way we miss what we really were created for – joy. You see Paul tells us to be thankful in the midst of asking things from God (Philippians 4:6). When we get on a roll with requests to God, that is when we can become the most-self centered. It is at that very moment that Paul tells us to thank God. You see Paul was reminding us that if we are thankful then we can create that subtle shift in our focus to what God has done instead what we need done. As a matter of fact, thankfulness is the very bridge to God’s presence (Psalm 100:4), and it is there where we can find “fullness of joy”, (Psalm 16:11). So next time when you pray, if you can walk across that bridge of thankfulness, you can find God, and not just requests, which is what we were created to find, and it is there where you will find joy in even the most hopeless situations.