It's Not About Me...
Today, I spent pretty much my whole afternoon working on an English paper, and now my brain is pretty much fried. I feel slow, worn out, and worn down. The ironic thing is that I was writing about how we as people cannot find fulfillment in doing things for our own pleasure and our own gain. Now, I know the full meaning of that. The only reason I put so much effort into my English paper is that I really want to get a decent grade in that class; I’d really like a B, but I don’t know if that’s possible. I hope it is, but I don’t know. That’s really beside the point, though. The point is that now, after doing something that will only benefit me, I feel like I’m banging my head up against a brick wall.
The whole concept of my paper was that when living with a hedonist mentality, one that seeks out pleasure and avoids suffering, you will inevitably come to a point of suffering and disillusionment. That’s exactly where I am right now. You see, ultimately one form of emotion must be traded for you to have another form of emotion. It’s Newton’s third law of motion. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. If you’re going to have pleasure, you must trade suffering for that pleasure. If you’re going to suffer you must trade pleasure for that suffering. It’s ironic that in trading suffering for the pleasure you will suffer. And when you trade pleasure for the suffering you will find pleasure. It’s a concept that most people can’t seem to grasp, for it isn’t our nature to understand that. In suffering we find pleasure, that’s the simple fact. God understands this, but we do not.
Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human!Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.
Because of that obedience, God lifted him high and honored him far beyond anyone or anything, ever, so that all created beings in heaven and on earth—even those long ago dead and buried—will bow in worship before this Jesus Christ, and call out in praise that he is the Master of all, to the glorious honor of God the Father. - Philippians 2:5-11
When Christ came to this earth he realized that by being obedient, humble, and compassionate is the very thing that would bring the most glory to His name. It wasn’t by Him seeking out the glory, it was by Him giving up his divine authority and power that we was able to receive the honor that He deserves as the Son of God.
In the same way that Christ was obedient, humble, and compassionate, we must do the same. The word compassionate means that you bear the burdens of people that are around you. You suffer with those that suffer. You’re hungry with those that are hungry. You mourn with those that mourn. You live with the people around you in the same way that they live. We are not called to be a separate people from the world, we are supposed to live in the world and share Christ’s love to the people in the world. It’s true that we are not supposed to be of the world, but that does mean that we do not live here and we do not associate with people that are in our loves. Each and every moment is a moment that can be used to show people the love of our God.
Some days I know that I don’t feel like loving people, I’d much rather live in my own little bubble and not worry about their feelings, but that doesn’t do me any good. At the end of the day the way that we achieve the most joy and fulfillment is by giving up our desires to God and loving our neighbors. The word neighbor doesn’t mean the people that live in the house with you or the house next to you, it means all people that you come into contact with. The people that inhabit this world. We are all people, and God loves us all the same. The color of skin, the way someone talks, the things they’ve done, none of that means anything. We must strive to move past the divide that comes between us and loving others. If we allow our identities to divide us we will not be able to love, for when we show favor towards certain people, we are not loving other people. God’s love is not limited to one person or one group of people; it’s for all people. In the same way we most love all people just as Christ has loved us.
We must love people in the way that God commands us to love. We must be selfless.
If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love. Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, doesn’t have a swelled head, doesn’t force itself on others, isn’t always “me first,” doesn’t fly off the handle, doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, doesn’t revel when others grovel, takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, puts up with anything, trusts God always, always looks for the best, never looks back,but keeps going to the end. - 1 Corinthians 13:3-7