Making the Case for Being Self-Centered
Pastor Steve Ellison
Many of society’s problems are caused because people are so selfish and self-centered. The same is true of the Church. Often we think only of ourselves and how a particular issue affects us. But there is one place where we need to be more self-centered; when we read the Bible we ought to read for self not for others. This Book of books was written just for you. Certainly every page of the Scripture was written in a specific context. Just as certain is the fact that every page had a specific meaning and application for the original reader. That truth has never changed, nor will it. However, the Scripture is living and active. It is the sharpest tool ever invented. It means the same thing no matter who happens to be reading it, but it cuts you in different ways from how it cuts me. Those cuts are for our healing, for our benefit. That is the beauty of God’s Living Word.
You and I have a deep seated tendency to read a passage, lean back in our easy chair and muse, “They should…..” or “We need to…….”. I think there is a better way to absorb and apply the Scripture. When I read the Word of God, my musing ought to be about what God wants from me, not from anyone else. It is a very subtle and tempting trap to think in terms of what other individuals or the whole group ought to do. It is far more profitable to come to the Bible with an intentional focus on what God is asking me to be or do. It is far better to meditate on the change that God is asking me to make in my life. Please do not misunderstand my meaning. There is not a “truth” for you and a “truth” for me. We all have the same general disease; we are slowly marching toward death. We all have different specific maladies whether they are diabetes, lung cancer, kidney failure, hardening of the arteries, dementia, etc. and etc. These all call for different treatments and yes, different surgeries.
The same is true in our spiritual health. We all suffer from the same general disease; we all sin. but we have different specific maladies, whether they are gossip, murder, idolatry, fornication, theft, lying, homosexuality, adultery, mistreatment of the weak, etc. and etc. Thus we all need different types of treatment and yes, different surgeries. Hebrews 4:12-13, “The word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.” (NASU) If I read the Bible with a specific, direct, and intentional desire to hear from the Living God, He will speak. He will also perform the specific surgery that I need. His Word will cut away the tumors, the infections, the cancers, etc. that are hampering my relationship with greater accuracy and precision than any earthly medical doctor. They “practice” medicine. God does not practice anything. He does it perfectly every time.
I ought to read the Bible to see Christ and to see me. If I only see Christ, I never recognize my need for a Savior. If I only see me, I will be driven to the depths of despair, lost without hope. I need to be self-centered in my Bible reading. I need radical treatment and surgery, which only the Living God can perform...……..…..firstname.lastname@example.org