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Friday, 4 November 2016

"It's not about you!"

Psalm 19:1 For the director of music. A psalm of David. The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

God spoke to David through the very universe around him. In the same way, God often speaks to me. It might be someone directly addressing me with a specific word, it may be some fact of nature that reminds me of God, or it may be a repeated word or idea. In the past week God has been speaking to me through the repetition of this one phrase: "it's not about you."

I first encountered this phrase while watching Dr Strange and something about the line resonated with me. Then the same phrase or one similar was stated in church the following morning. Then yet again, I read an article about a doctor giving advice to other medical practitioners. He wrote the following:
One attendee lamented about caring for a patient who was recovering from a procedure that went against her own personal values. She said she was distressed and angered by this; I believe what she hoped for was for me to embrace her distress, validate it, provide words of comfort and support and give advice on how to change. Even though, mind you, she said the patient was happy and very comforted by her care. I looked at her and responded.
“So what? That’s your job. You are supposed to provide care regardless of your values.”
She snapped at me. “Yeah, but what about me?”
“What about you?” I replied. “It’s not about you. It’s about your patient. It’s about caring for your patient. That’s what you signed up for.”
You see, this very phrase has been a constant reminder to me this week about what I signed up for in two cases. The first and most recent case is in my marriage to Jeanille. I signed up to a life which is not about me: it's about my spouse. The challenge for husbands from a Biblical perspective is to love your wife like Christ loved the church and laid down his life (Ephesians 5:25 paraphrasing) and that means recognising that my life is one which requires daily sacrifice. Te second, but more important case, is in my relationship with Christ.

Paul recognised that his life was no longer his own (Galatians 2:20). For the Christian, the life that we live is truly no longer about us. Hearing this phrase repeated by people, films and situations around me was a fantastic reminder about the true purpose of my life. Engaging in every activity that I undertake may be fantastic, however I am wanting more and more for everything that I do to point directly back to the cross.

A key root of sin I believe lies in self-centeredness, in taking God's own position in our lives and becoming the God of ourselves. Jesus was sinless and perfect because as both God and man he was fully dedicated to sacrificing himself and ushering in the Kingdom of God. The question remains: how can we live lives where 'it is not about you' and become people moving ever closer to God's great plans for our lives!

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