Tag Archives: ego

November 25; The Refuse of the World

I Corinthians 1-4

I know I have expressed my concern over the way we are raising our children to look out for themselves, to consider themselves powerful and capable and good, that they deserve whatever they want at any cost to others. We are reaping the consequences for this foolishness, aren’t we?

Paul says in 4:1 that people should regard us as servants of Christ. Then he goes on to describe what that looks like in his own life. Hold on to your hats:

For it seems that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like men condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to men. We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored! To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered we answer kindly. Up to this moment we have become the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world. (4:9-13) (emphasis mine)

And he’s ok with that!

Now get ready for the kicker:

Therefore, I urge you to imitate me. (verse 16)

Now I know this flies in the face of modern philosophy. The so called child experts and mental health counselors are probably having heart attacks about now. And millennials everywhere are running to their safe places. But hear me when I say what the child experts and mental health counselors teach IS NOT WORKING!

They’ll tell you it’s not their philosophy that is failing, it’s society. It’s intolerance. It’s capitalism. It’s President Trump.

But the real problem is that they have rejected what God says, and made up their own bible. I know without a doubt that what Paul says here in I Corinthians is the answer to all of society’s problems, school shootings, discrimination, abortion, child abuse whatever. We need to think of others more highly than ourselves.

I will also tell you that’s impossible. We are selfish, ego-driven by nature. So before you try to muster up the ability to take a back seat, you need to give your life to Jesus. You need the strength that comes from having the Holy Spirit within you to turn the other cheek, to love your enemies and do good to those who mistreat you, to be the refuse of the world.

The answer to life’s problems is not what we think about ourselves. The answer is Jesus.

 

Jesus’ Counsel For A Healthy Life

Our society has gotten so far away from what Jesus said when he was here on earth. Where in Scripture does it say, “You’ve got to take care of yourself,” or “If you want to be healthy you have to come first”? These are lies straight from Satan’s lips. That’s the lie that got him thrown out of heaven.

Mental illness is a rampant plague, and I believe one reason is that even some Christians, have fallen for the infectious disease of “self”. People try so hard to feel good about themselves, to pull themselves up, to convince themselves they are worthy, when Scripture tells us we need to let go of “self”, admit we are filthy, helpless, needy people. Dear ones, admitting that is so freeing! The reality is we can’t be good in and of ourselves. And trying to be is making people crazy.

Jesus tells us not to exalt ourselves, not to think more highly of ourselves than we should, to come to him like a child, give up everything to follow him.

The Pharisee loudly prayed, “Boy, God. I’m glad I’m not like that guy over there. I tithe, I pray, I go to church, I don’t cheat on my wife, and people think I’m pretty awesome.”

Jesus said, “One day you’ll wish you were like that guy over there. He recognizes his sin. He’s bowed before me and repented. He’s wearing my righteousness, and what you are wearing is nothing but filthy rags.”

Don’t try to find those quotes in the Bible. Those words are mine. But if you read Luke 18, you’ll see what I’m talking about.

Here’s the truth. I am a sinner, and so are you. I am incapable of being anything other than a sinner, and so are you. I fail. I make mistakes. And when I measure myself up against a holy God, I can’t come close.

But Jesus tells me I don’t have to. He wants to be that for me. And all I need to do is admit my helpless position, recognize my sin, and ask him to forgive me. He’s already got that robe of righteousness waiting for me because he bought it with his blood. I don’t have to try to be good. He puts his own goodness on me. I don’t have to convince myself I am worthy, he makes me worthy because he is worthy.

I pray Christians will recognize Satan’s lies in counseling sessions, on TV, in the books they read, the sermons they hear, and the conversations they have with friends. I would challenge you to do a study on the word, “humble” in the Bible. Use a concordance and look up the verses that speak about humility, about humbling ourselves, and find out what God promises when we do.

“… and HE will lift you up.” (I Peter 5:6)