Tuesday, September 06, 2011

All About Me

"A preoccupation with ourselves, our agenda, and our pre-conceived ideas, and a motivation to achieve personal peace and prosperity (i.e. pride) will be met with resistance from our heavenly Father." - Chip Ingram, Holy Ambition

I'm reading Holy Ambition: What it takes to make a difference for God by Chip Ingram. It's the first fully Christian book I've sat down with in a bit, having had my shelf overrun with business and ducks and self motivation.

The book is challenging - which is good, but also perhaps bad in the sense that it points to how far I have fallen from the goal. Ingram (who I'm familiar with from years past on the radio) does not shy away from pointing to the gaps that Christians often develop in their own lives. He proposes a six step process towards developing Holy Ambition: having an intensity to their passion and spiritual faith and discovery what it takes to make a difference to God.

One of the big steps (it's actually in the second step, so I'm jumping ahead) is that we need to get our eyes off our own lives and onto what God wants.

This is actually something I'm pretty bad it. Most of my life, simply put, is about me and my problems and my needs. I'd love to say that I'm not any different that a great many other people (That, I think, is true) - but that does not excuse it.

It pushes me, because I have trained myself (consciously or unconsciously) to think that life is about me. Part of it, I'm sure, is the simple fact that we train ourselves to be responsible. Who are we responsible for? Ourselves, of course - therefore as we work to resolve the issues that affect us, we come to believe that all issues around us are about us.

The other part - the not-so-kind part - is that I am a sinner, and as a result, I believe that life should be about me. My plans, my goals, my pleasure. The motivational/self help industry is no assistance in this respect: it's all about your dreams, your goals, your aspirations, your fulfillment, your self actualization.

Which is 180 degrees opposite of what God calls us to.

The second part of the quote from Ingram reads as follows: "By contrast, a genuine sense of desperation and dependency on Him and Him alone (i.e., a broken spirit) will be met with grace, power, and supernatural provision."

But that desperation and dependency, that broken spirit, comes from a realization that God is God and we are not, of becoming progressively more consumed with God and His agenda that our own.

If I'm truly honest, most of my life is about me: my dreams, my goals, my "right" to have things that are, my pleasure, my wealth. And how have I done with this consistent focus on me? Not so well, on the whole.

So there's the challenge: am I willing to concentrate on God and His agenda? Am I willing to become more consumed with His will and His agenda than my own?

Am I will to look at my life and its results and learn from what has occurred? Or do I insist on doing it my own way, even to the ultimate detriment of everything I want to achieve?

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