Norwich minister Matt Stone shakes us from our amnesia urging us to get over ourselves! He reminds us that it is always all about God, never about us.
It’s not about you. I very rarely remember quotes from books, but these four words are seared in my mind from reading Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life almost a decade ago. I find it quite remarkable that such a bestselling book could begin with such a counter cultural statement: “It’s not about you.”
These are words that need to be rooted deeply inside of us. It’s not about you. It’s not about me. Life, the universe, everything... is about Him: our Creator and Father and Lover, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. We were created by God, for God, and to live in God.
Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden is our sin. They thought they knew better than God. As the serpent whispered, “Did God really say...?” (Genesis 3:1), still today the devil whispers to us, “Did God really say...?” And like Adam and Eve, we decide that actually we know best. We question God’s teaching and motives. We doubt God’s love and the hope that He offers us. We put our faith and trust in our desires and in earthly, material things. But we need to be shaken from our amnesia.
It’s not about you. It’s not about me. And yet, most of our lives, consciously and subconsciously, we make it about us. We choose how we will spend our time and money and energy, often with very little reference to God. We justify our sin and our culture by arguing that the Bible was written for people in another age. We choose which church we will attend based on where will serve us best, rather than where we can serve God best. We choose comfort over sacrifice, being served over serving, our needs over the needs of others, time and time again, day after day. And through it all, God is slowly, but surely, boxed, blocked and pushed out of our lives.
We need to get over ourselves! God says to us, “Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. By myself I have sworn; from my mouth has gone out in righteousness a word that shall not return: To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance.” (Isaiah 45:22-23, ESV)
“Turn to me and be saved”. Don’t look more deeply inside of yourself. Don’t pick up a self-help book. Don’t look in the world around you. Turn to me. Look to me. Fix your eyes on me.
Every sin we commit comes from not looking to God, from not loving God as we should with all of our heart, soul and mind, from not keeping the greatest commandment (Matthew 22:36-37). Does this mean that we shouldn’t love the blessings God sends our way on earth? Timothy Keller, in his book Walking with God through Pain and Suffering, answers by writing:
“No, you must reorder your loves. Your problem is not so much that you love your career or family too much, but that you love God too little in proportion to them. C.S. Lewis, following Augustine, writes: It is probably impossible to love any human being simply ‘too much.’ We may love him too much in proportion to our love for God; but it is the smallness of our love for God, not the greatness of our love for many, that constitutes the inordinacy. That is the final way to get the calm, the tranquillity, the peace. It is to love [God] supremely.” (p.271)
It’s not about you. It’ll never be about you. It’s about God, the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). Let’s fix our eyes on Him. Let’s love, worship and serve Him as He deserves.
As King Solomon wrote, “A life devoted to things is a dead life, a stump; a God-shaped life is a flourishing tree.” (Proverbs 11:28, The Message)
Matt Stone is a Minister in the Norwich Area group of United Reformed Churches.