Stop the Selfies
I don’t know if you agree, but the “selfie” is here to stay. You know, the craze where everyone turns the camera on themselves and “snap” takes picture after picture. We see them smiling, taking a bite of food, with a sultry look, tongue sticking out, a slight grin, etc. etc. etc. Whatever look their faces can make, we have seen it.
I thought at first that the fad would die down after a time, but it just keeps gaining momentum. I’m not sure why I thought this. After all, when I was younger, my friends and I took picture after picture of each other. The only difference was that we didn’t have the technology to take the picture ourselves. In fact, we had to wait until the film was developed to even know if our friend had taken a good picture. Gasp! How archaic! We would then have to decide how to share these pictures without seeming like we were bragging. For instance, we would have an entire mini-album of pictures dedicated to ourselves (that’s a “first generation selfie”) and “accidentally” set it on the lunchroom table while getting something from our book bag, or purse. We would pray that one of our friends would start looking at it and when our prayers were answered, we would then act all embarrassed and shy. It took a lot of strategy to get your favorite guy to see the few pictures that turned out really well. “Selfies” are not just of this generation, believe me.
As Christians, we must be aware of the “selfie”. I’m not talking about taking a picture of yourself. I’m talking about the mentality of the focus always being on ourselves and not others. II Timothy 3:1-2 says, “But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant…”
This Scripture is a clear warning for us and yet, we love ourselves, do we not? That’s why it is so hard to die to our flesh as the Bible commands. We don’t even like to sing the real words to the song “At the Cross.” In the original version, this song says, “…would He devote that sacred head for such a worm as I.” In today’s version we sing: “…would He devote that sacred head for sinners such as I.” We won’t even call ourselves a worm anymore. We don’t like that “selfie”, so we photo shop that image into one we like better. After all, we are all sinners, but a worm? No, thank you.
Jesus says in Matthew 16:24-25, “… ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life for My sake shall find it.” Self-preservation says that this teaching of Jesus cannot be right. Self-preservation says that we must protect ourselves in order to survive. It’s becoming more apparent though that if we keep listening to ourselves, we will miss the calling that God has on our lives. We are not called to be focused on self. We are called to be about our Father’s business.
So, how do we counter the culture of the “selfie”? How do we counter our own tendencies of self-preservation? How do we see others instead of ourselves? These are really good questions with a really simple answer: We simply turn the camera around. We stop with the “selfies” and get on with our calling, to win the world for Christ. Jesus says in John 4:35 that the fields are white unto harvest. He tells us to “lift up our eyes and look at the fields”. We must allow Him to change our focus. We must pray for His eyes to see. When we are taking a “selfie”, all we can see is our own image on the screen. When we turn the camera around, we see a whole different landscape. We see the world around us.
In Luke 9, we see the disciples of Jesus taking a “selfie”. They were hungry and they decided that the crowds’ hunger was less important than their own. They wanted the crowd gone so that Jesus could take care of their needs. Their “camera” was focused on self. Jesus countered their mindset by sending them into the crowd. He had them to speak to the people and see the true need. He wanted their focus off of self and onto the people. The disciples were perplexed, but obedient.
What did they see? As they began to walk among the people, they saw people who were truly hungry. They saw rich people and poor people all in the same predicament with no way to provide for their own need. They saw people with no way to feed themselves and eventually, they saw a miracle. Without seeing the need, they would not have been able to see the miracle. How many miracles have we missed simply because we could not see the need? How many wonders has Jesus worked all around us, but we could not see because we were focused on ourselves?
Jesus could have easily said to the boy with five loaves and two fish to come up front. After all, He knew who had what. He could have simply made bread from a rock, or had food dropped from heaven. I believe though that He wanted the disciples in the crowd, among the needs of the people so they could see something other than themselves. He wanted them to identify with the hunger of the crowd. Did the disciples need food? Yes, they did, but they also needed to identify with the famished people. They needed to turn their “camera” to the crowd and off of themselves.
Do we have needs? Yes, we do. Do we have dreams and ambitions that God placed within us for His plan to be accomplished? Yes, but we need to turn the camera off of ourselves and focus on Jesus and the hurting, hungry crowd around us that He has called us to serve.
Matthew 9:35-37 tells us, “And Jesus was going about all the cities and the villages, teaching in their synagogue, and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of sickness. And seeing the multitudes, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and downcast like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.’” He was telling them to look around and see the needs. He saw the multitude and He was asking them to do the same. He was telling them to change their focus to a world without direction. He was telling them to get out into the crowd and stop taking “selfies”.
Maybe the reason why we take so many “selfies” is so that we won’t see the need. I get that. Sometimes, the needs are so great that we are overwhelmed. But, our God is a God of miracles. Our God is a God who takes our puny lunch of five loaves and two fish (that He provided) and turns it into not just enough, but more than enough. We have got to be vulnerable enough to see the need so that we will be able to see the miracle. Will we be overwhelmed? Yes, but then we can stop relying on self and rely on our God, the only true Provider.
O, God, help us to see the needs of the multitudes. Help us to truly see the lack of ability that the crowds have to help themselves. Help us to have Your heart for the people. Help us to not be lovers of self, but lovers of You and Your calling on our lives to reach the world. In Jesus’ Name…
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