It’s All About Me

Part 5 of the Christian Thinking series.
We come out of the womb full of ourselves. The instincts we’re born with are only for our own survival. Nobody has to teach a baby how to cry for milk. All toddler’s everywhere learn from their own wayward hearts to throw a temper tantrum. We automatically are in tune with our personal needs and desires; they grip our hearts and minds strongest when they aren’t fulfilled.

Our culture perpetuates this self-centered mindset continually. Advertisements appeal to our ego by telling us we deserve the product being sold to us. Many philosophies, movements, and ideologies are consumed with gazing inward.  Much of this series is based on the false way of thinking that, “Everything is about me.”

We tend to think:

What’s best for me? What will make me happy? What will be easy for me? How does this affect me? What does she think of me? He hurt my feelings. No one cares about my ideas.

What About the Church?

The Church has become guilty of this as well. We have become man-centered in how we approach life, scripture, and our churches.

If we aren’t careful we can make our life in Christ all about ourselves by interpreting scripture according to our feelings and preferences, which reduces scripture to a handbook of rules or it becomes our personal therapist. Scripture was never intended to make much of us, but to make much of Christ.

We can look at our churches through a man-centered lens too. Church isn’t a place to serve our own needs and interests. Yes, we can be ministered to through the preaching of the Word, and we should look to be spiritually fed in our churches, but that is different from idolizing the fulfillment of our desires. Christ didn’t die for the Church so she could feel good about herself and have lots of friends. He died to set her free to live for his glory. One of the best ways to do that is to love and serve others.

It’s All About You

Nancy Leigh Demoss says, “Feeling better has become more important than finding God….God does not exist for us, but we exist for him.”

I remember an old worship song from when I was a young girl:

It’s all about you, Jesus. And all this is for you; for your glory and your fame. It’s not about me as if you should do things my way. You alone are God and I surrender to your ways. 

What’s the best way to remember it’s not, “all about me?” Think about Jesus laying down his rights and desires to become a helpless baby. Except, he came out of the womb full of God’s glory.

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Is Your Head Full of Straw?

Christian Thinking Series — Introduction

Men are the tin man in need of a heart and women are the scarecrow wanting for brains. For so long men have been the stereotype of logic and reasoning and women the stereotype of heart and emotions. It can be a mostly true generality, but still a stereotype easily broken.

Are women’s heads truly full of straw? In 2 Timothy 3:5-7 Paul warns Timothy of false teachers:

“And from such people turn away! For this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

Paul isn’t perpetuating the above stereotype here, but simply expressing truth. The truth is that women, and housewives in general, are susceptible to the dangers of false teaching. Men are too of course, but there are certain false teachings out there intentionally aimed at women and/or housewives. Just turn on your television to see advertisements selling to women and you know our culture has an agenda.

The Call to Christian Women

Let’s not be those gullible women! Let’s not reserve hard study and theology to the men and seminary students. Women don’t need to be all fluffy hearts and butterflies to epitomize biblical womanhood. We too can be pictured as brave warriors fighting the spiritual battles in our homes, in the world, and in the Church. Women are called to pick up their sword and fight along with the men; the sword of truth does not discriminate.

As Christian women, we need to read and start thinking. Read God’s Word first, but also read good books. You don’t have to be a natural intellectual to think, but we are called to think differently from non-christians. Christian thinking and secular thinking are two seperate categories and we must become familiar with both camps to do battle well.

The Christian Mind

In his 1960’s book, The Christian Mind, Harry Blamires says,

“There is no longer a Christian mind. There is still, of course, a Christian ethic, a Christian practice, and a Christian spirituality.”

When we start to think like a christian it should affect our daily living, and not just be a moral awareness.

I love Aimee Byrd’s book, Housewife Theologian. She has an entire chapter devoted to the Christian mind. Here are some excerpts:

“Truly Christian thinking involves an eternal perspective on our daily matters and contemplation of how they fit into the dogma of the drama in which God has cast us. 

 “Our faith has nothing substantial to say to or about what we perceive as real life. We behave as if our Christian values make our contribution to the world somehow insignificant or unintelligent.

Unfortunately, in many ways as a church, we have allowed this kind of thinking and have, in fact, added to it. We keep our faith compartmentalized into a separate realm, apart from the everyday facts and acts of life. When we are not wearing our “faith hat,” we think in terms of all the isms of our time — naturalism, existentialism, conservatism, feminism, humanism, capitalism, liberalism, and so on — unaware that we are thinking like Locke, Rousseau, Voltaire, and other philosophic minds and believing that we are thinking “independently.” Tragically, rather than functioning as independent thinkers we are really just parroting the spin-doctors who don’t see life through the lens of God’s special revelation in Scripture.”

As Paul warned Timothy of false teachers in their day Paul mentions ‘they are always learning, but never arriving at the truth’; these are the spin-doctors of our time too.

My next several blog posts will be aimed at expounding on these thoughts. I’ll explore modern day false teaching aimed at women and how it embodies different philosophies. Instead of filling our heads with the straw of false cultural thinking we’ll be using the brains of true Christian thought. Just follow the yellow brick road.

Part 2 >>

Shooting Arrows

The other day my husband was looking far into our son’s future. Not like a psychic mind you, but dreading the day when he would leave home. Our son is 8 months old, so this is a long way off. But as they say, time flies, and this day will be here sooner than we think. Then I started. “Oh man, I hope he doesn’t want to go away to college. I might worry about him too much.”

Then I actually started to think biblically. Sending him off is our job as parents. God gave us our son to give him back to the Lord. Think of Hannah and Samuel in the Old Testament. Hannah could not conceive and prayed, weeping, in the house of the Lord at Shiloh. When the Lord answered her prayer, and after she had weened her son Samuel, she brought him back to the temple at Shiloh and offered her son to Eli the high priest. Here is what she said to Eli,

“Pardon me, my lord. As surely as you live, I am the woman who stood here beside you praying to the Lord. I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.”

Samuel was a gift who was offered back to the Lord. We can learn so much from Hannah. She was a humble woman; even though she waited so long for a son she was not greedy and controlling once she received her gift. Her hands were not tightly clenched over her son in fear and anxiety, but her hands were wide open to offer Samuel to the Lord. Hannah understood her place as a mother before God.

Mother’s are Stewards

As mothers we are merely tools God uses for a season in our children’s lives. Our children ultimately belong to God and we are stewards of this gift. We are entrusted with nurturing, sheltering (for a time), and training our children. For what end? To send them into the world. They are intended to leave home and it is our purpose to prepare them for that end. We give them the tools, teach them how to wield them, and then trust God with the rest.

Psalm 127: 3-5 speaks to this:

“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children of one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.”

It is a reward to have a quiver full of children, but arrows are not intended to lie idle in the quiver; they must be shot out of the bow. Our children are weapons of warfare, and we must prepare them for the battle.

A Mother’s Love

Rachel Jankovic has some great insight into this portion of scripture. It’s a bit lengthy, but good enough to share the whole thing:

“God does not share our sentimental view of motherhood. While he delights in children, he does not speak of them in some cutesy photo shoot kind of a way. He compares them, not to tiny fairies, or dewey flowers, but to arrows. To weapons in the hand of a mighty man.

God does not tell us to desire the blessing of children because their cheerful voices will make our houses feel cozy. He tells us to desire children who will contend with the enemy in the gate.

It is natural and good that we delight in the little things with our children. God didn’t command mothers to rejoice over elbow dimples and the smell of a new baby’s head. He didn’t tell us to smile over them while they sleep, or to love the way they look in footie pajamas. He didn’t tell us these things, because He didn’t have to. That is the natural love of a mother for her children.

But the love that we need, the reminders we need, is to love them, not for our own sake, but for what God is doing through them. We need a supernatural love. We need to believe in the victory, to mother in faithful confidence.”

Not off to Neverland

Like I said, my son is only 8 months, and I have a hard road ahead of slowly learning the lesson of Hannah. Of course there is a time and a place for sheltering him while he is young, but as he grows I must grow in preparing him for the world, practically and spiritually. As much as I would love to send him off to Neverland and he could be frozen in time as Peter Pan, this is not God’s will for him. He must grow into a man and then fight Captain Hook.

I pray my son responds to Christ’s call of salvation and grows in his love and knowledge of His Word; I pray he will be a light in a dark world. Amen.