Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Seeks Not Its Own

Love does not seek its own things (1 Corinthians 13:5; Philippians 2:3,4; Romans 13:8-10). This goes against our fallen human nature ,which often responds violently if we are deprived of anything we think is our due.We also in American tradition complain loudly of being deprived of anything we think we have a right to have. (I do not deny that the idea of rights has a value on the judicial level, but taken into the area of personal relations it can be very destructive.) And as C. S. Lewis points out in the Screwtape Letters, there is a tendency for us to make claims of more and things and feel deprived if we are denied them. As Lewis also points out, there is a tendency to reduce all the senses of the word, "my": "my boots," "my wife," "my country," "my church," "my God," all down to the level of "my boots," something that belongs to me. This can even try to sneak its way into supposedly spiritual things, "my denomination," "my church," "my ministry," "my Sunday School class," allowing me to convince myself I am serving God when I am really only contending for things I claim are mine. I can also become concerned with furthering "my people," however I define them, and run roughshod over others in their defense (James 2:1-9; Romans 12:16; Matthew 9:10-13). It does not help that all these things can look justifiable and be hard to distinguish from legitimate concerns.

We have in this the example of the Lord Jesus, who, though God, was willing to become a man and suffered to redeem us from sin (Philippians 2:5-11; Mark 10:42-45; 2 Corinthians 8:9). Therefore, we also ought to be willing to give up the things that we have to help others. Also, we should trust God (Psalms 127:1,2; 37:3-6; Proverbs 3:5,6) and His provision (Philippians 4:19; Matthew 6:25-34; 1 Timothy 6:6-10). I am not here speaking against reasonable planning, but the idea that I must hold on to all I have in order to protect myself and therefore cannot help others. And we also ought to carefully examine our "my" claims and put them in perspective.  

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