By Janelle Pollard
It would not be an exaggeration to say that I love notebooks. I’ve always had a slight obsession with notepads, journals, and anything colorful and pretty to use for note-taking, to-do lists, and doodling. I probably definitely have more notebooks than I will need for the next few years (but this comes in handy when giving gifts!). Not too long ago, I bought a notebook because it had three sections, separated by the prettiest pastel-colored pages. This would be perfect for an all-purpose notebook. I could use one section for sermon & class notes at church, one for grocery/shopping lists, and one for miscellaneous/to-do lists. It was a done deal. There was only one problem. The phrase on the cover said, “Do What Makes You Happy.” While, of course, there is nothing wrong with being happy, it seems like this mentality is all about ME.
It is so easy to become too focused on ourselves. We live in a society where we are conditioned to think that it’s normal and appropriate to put ourselves before everyone else. However, this goes against what Scripture teaches.
Society: “If it makes YOU happy, do it.” (Focus: ME)
Scripture: “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” Philippians 2:4 (Focus: Others)
The less we focus on ourselves, the more we will be like Jesus. Which, by the way, will make us happier than living with a self-centered mindset. It’s a WIN-WIN!
If we let it, society and the culture that surrounds us today can and will shape who we are and who we are becoming. It takes intention and daily effort to go against the grain. But that is what we are called to do as Christians. We aren’t supposed to look like everyone else. Having an “it’s all about me” mentality makes us look and think like the world. Jesus was not conformed to this world, so neither should we be.
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2
While Jesus lived on this earth, His focus was always on others.
Healing others. Giving His time and energy to others. Loving others. Encouraging others. Guiding others. Comforting others. Praying for others. Dying for others.
There is so much to be learned by the example Jesus gave throughout His life. The more time we spend meditating on His Word, the more His example will impact and shape our mindset, which will in turn, shape our actions. We must make it a priority to allow the Bible to influence us instead of society. We must strive daily to be more and more like Christ.
In his letter to the church at Corinth, Paul could not have stated this more simply:
“Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”
1 Cor. 11:1