Sunday, August 16, 2009

It’s All About Me

Last week, I discussed one troubling issue presented in the bestseller Become a Better You: 7 Keys to Improving Your Every Day. Click HERE if you missed that post.

The book’s second troubling implication is that you have the power within yourself alone to become everything and possess everything your heart desires.

In other words, whatever it is that you want out of life, if it’s not happening, then it’s within your power to change it: “The potential is inside you,” the author states. “You must get your thoughts about yourself moving in the right direction if you truly want to become a better you” (my italics).

In fairness, the book does briefly mention tapping into God’s power within you, but that message is lost in the overwhelming number of pages focusing on how I alone can change me: “Every day, we should make positive declarations over our lives. We should say things like, ‘I am blessed. I am prosperous. I am healthy. I am talented. I am creative. I am wise.’ When we do that, we are building up our self-image.”

Me, me, me. I, I, I. Self.

It’s a common thought pattern among many Christians today. It’s not that God can do a work in and through me. Instead, I can use God’s power and gifts within me to make me a better person, fix my problems. I can make my dreams come true, become rich, if I plan for that blessing.

The problem here is if I constantly speak of myself as the solution to everything, then perhaps I subconsciously think of myself that way, too. My heart learns to trust in me and my abilities. And if I think of myself as being able to do anything rather than thinking of God doing undeserved miracles and blessings through me, I’m in danger of doing my thing, my way, for my glory.

But Romans 7:18 says that I can do nothing on my own to better myself: “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh.

Instead, Scripture says that GOD can work through us by means of the Holy Spirit. As Paul states, “In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:26-28).

Additionally, the I/me mentality causes many Christians and non-Christians alike to see God as merely a vehicle for their becoming better, richer, smarter people who have a better self image. Although they don’t say it, their actions and words say, “I’ll use God’s power within me to fulfill my desires and plan for my life.”

Even in the Old Testament, Joseph learned the dangers of thinking what “I” can do instead of what “God” can do. By the point in his life where Pharaoh asked him to interpret a dream, Joseph wisely said, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer” (Gen. 41:16).

God is in the business of making us more righteous, holy individuals…but not necessarily richer, smarter, more self-impressed individuals. We were made for the sole purpose of glorifying Him and pointing others to Jesus.

So, instead of thinking “I am blessed,” we should think “God has blessed me.” Instead of thinking, “I can overcome this addiction,” we should think “The Holy Spirit within can help me overcome this addiction.” It may sound like a simple word change, but our words speak the song of our heart. See how often this week you use the word “I” in your speech and thoughts. You might be surprised.


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