This past Thursday evening, my church was having a candlelight service for Christmas Eve. This is hardly unique, as churches across the world were doing the same thing. What was different about it was that we had to do it outside. Because of COVID- 19, we were unable to gather together inside, so we decided to have it in our parking lot and broadcasted it over a radio station. That way, everyone could stay safe and warm inside their cars. This was our first time trying something like this. As it turns out, there was a lot of effort that went into making it happen. It became an all-day affair to set the event up and make sure that everything would go off without a hitch.
As I was scrambling around last minute to fix an issue, I had the thought, “If only everyone knew how hard we worked to make this happen.” You see, I often fall victim to the sin of self-importance. My mind was not on the birth of Christ nor the joy that was about to be had in the service; no, it was on me. I am my chief concern far too often. Normally when I get to consumed with Kyle, it isn’t until after the fact that I realize the error of my way. However, something different happened this time.
As I was running my errand and thinking of only me, I heard a whisper from an unmistakable voice. His message was simple, “If only you knew what I went through for you.” I was stopped in my tracks for a second and brought back down to earth. Christ was speaking to me and reminding me that, no matter what I was dealing with, it greatly pales in comparison as to what he went through in his life, death, and resurrection to bring me into relationship with God. More or less, Jesus was telling me that I need to get over myself. That may sound harsh, but the Savior knows exactly how to speak to me. He said the exact words that I needed to hear to correct my heart and mind in that moment.
I was reminded of a quote that I have used before, but I cannot remember who said it. So, forgive me for not being able to give proper credit. It goes, “A Christian shouldn’t think too highly or too lowly of themselves. Instead, they should be thinking only of Christ.” We all struggle with how we view ourselves. Some Christians view themselves poorly, as the scum of the earth- not worthy of being loved by God. Others think that they are God’s gift to the world, and Christ is lucky to have gotten the opportunity to die for them. Neither is ever correct, and they are two sides of the same coin. Both mindsets require your focus to be only on you. That is not where our attention is to be.
In Matthew 22:37-40, Jesus spoke of two commandments in which we are to follow. First is to, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” He followed with, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” That is where our thoughts need to be; God first, others second, us third. When we are focused on our own plight or our assumed grandeur, we have taken our eyes off of the first two and are only looking at ourselves.
Whenever you find yourself so caught up in only thinking about you, remember what Christ spoke to me, “If only you knew what I went through for you.” If you are feeling down and defeated, be reminded that Jesus willing gave his life for you because of how much he loves you. If you are puffed up with conceit (this is my camp), reminisce on everything Christ gave up for you and realize that you do not hold a candle to him. We need to remain as even-keeled as possible. If we are focusing of God and others more than ourselves, then we will be able to keep our thoughts as they should be. We need to strive to keep our concentration on God first, others second, and us third.