‘FOLLOW your dreams’, ‘be yourself’, ‘you can do anything you put your mind to’…these calls to look within for identity, strength and inspiration are common place in movies, reality TV and colloquial language today.
My first response when reflecting on these statements is ‘yeah, but’ and to then move into a critique or analysis about what they say about us as 21st century people.
So, I would like to begin with saying the ideas of dreaming big and chasing those dreams with our unique gifts, talents and abilities in a determined way are worthy pursuits.
There is much to affirm in those statements and also opportunities for deeper reflection.
God has made us to be dreamers, blessed us with our individual nature and a determination to thrive and find meaning.
If you read my article back in March you might remember the Bible calls us to have our primary focus not within, but above.
Christians live for an audience of one, not self, but for God and his glory.
I think for a modern person who has been raised on the messages of ‘you can do it’ this can be a challenging idea.
In making this shift off ourselves and onto God, many find, however, that it is quite liberating.
How does this impact the way a person lives?
Instead of an internal search for meaning, Christians search the character and Word of God and model themselves after his purposes.
The Apostle Paul, writing in the first century, put it this way in Ephesians chapter 5: “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us,
In trying to learn from God the call is to look to Jesus with the central focus on his work on the cross.
It was there the virtue of humility was lifted as an admirable quality, not valued before that event.
He was laid low so that others could be lifted up.
John Dickson in his book Humilitas: The lost key to life, love and leadership’ defines humility as: the noble choice to forgo your status, deploy your resources or use your influence for the good of others before yourself.
Christians then should be humble.
Unfortunately, the church has largely lost its reputation of being there for the benefit of others due to its own failings.
This happened because some were working in complete opposition to God, revealed in Jesus.
What is needed then is not less focus on God and his glory revealed in Jesus, but more.
A closer replication of his humility.
If the Church and individual Christians humbly repent before God, repair and restore their relationships and use whatever influence and resources they have left for the sake of others, people may once again look to Jesus to discover the goodness of the glory of God.
Living for an audience of one causes the individual to place a high value on themselves and on those around them.
Moama Anglican Grammar