What an uncool and unpopular sentiment. Of course it’s about YOU. I mean, if I heard anything as a kid, it was “Have it your way” and “You deserve a break today” and “If it doesn’t make you happy …” The entire sentiment underpinning most marketing is that it’s all about you. It’s an easy premise to accept. If most people are anything like me, I find it extraordinarily easy to think of myself first. I’m a natural at it. Based on my tenure on this globe thus far, I think this might be the most commonly shared talent.
I used to work in a ministry where we would visit church visitors. Part of the visit was to see where they were spiritually. One of the key questions we would ask was, “If you were to stand before God and he were to ask, ‘Why should I let you into my Heaven?’, how would you answer?” So many church people talked about how they tried to live their lives like Jesus. The most common answer was about how they had lived.
Those responses remind me of what Jesus foretold as recalled by Matthew in chapter 7 of his book:
21Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
God wants for us to rely upon him and what he has done for us. Our “goodness” will spring from that faith, from trusting in Christ for our strength, and from desiring to please the God that has given us everything. Those who try to justify themselves based on their own actions will be rejected — even called “evil.” Again, Paul warned the Corinthians (2 Cor. 10) that all glory is to God, not man:
26Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29so that no one may boast before him. 30It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.”
Woe to the men and women who stand before God at judgement and try to explain how well they’ve lived their lives and what tragedy for them to hear, “away from me” … Again, Paul explained to the Ephesians in chapter 2 of his letter, “8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast.” And to the Romans, “9That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” (Rom. 10)
All glory, honor, and power shall be to our lord and God forever and ever.
That is the way it is. It’s not because God begrudges us attention, to the contrary, in the context of holiness, it’s a mystery why he has anything to do with our rebellion. He is pure love. As stated, as the sons of Adam and daughters of Eve, we naturally love ourselves. The foundation of the law is to love God with all we are and to love others as we love ourselves. Every time we fail to do that, we rebel against God. Hah! I am a natural-born rebel. On rare occasions when I selflessly love through the power of Christ in me, then, I am living as God intended. Regardless of my rebel nature in the flesh, he covers my sin in the blood sacrifice of his son … Why? It’s unwarranted. I don’t know why God did it. It’s amazing grace. It’s all about him and what he’s done for us – our creator, our redeemer, and our perfector. All glory and honor to Jesus Christ. It’s not about us. Amen.