I’ve finally come to grips with the fact that I have fallen hopelessly in love with someone. It caught me by surprise and took my breath (more like knocked the breath out of me) and remaining sensibilities away. Just thinking about that recent moment of realization makes me feel a bit giddy.
I’m beginning to appreciate the sentimentality of love songs of old which speak to the way the person consumes your every thought, (waking and sleeping), and captures your affections, time and money. An hour together feels like two seconds, and spending hundreds is a small price to pay for their smile. You just want to make them happy.
If you’re wondering who this wonderful person is, I’ll tell you. It’s myself.
This week, whilst in transit in a taxi, the driver played a song in which the artiste sung of his own selfishness. He sung about his selfish nature, not remorsefully, or with any desire to change, just as a matter of fact to be accepted and lived with.
Listening to that song got me thinking about our condition as 21st century human beings, and our slavery, not only to our sin, but to ourselves. Trapped in the ongoing addiction of self-gratification, we mask the sickness of our soul with hashtags, (e.g. “#selflove”, “#livingmybestlife”), and worldviews that make us the centre of our personal universes and tell us that self-actualization is the goal to fulfilment.
The song also got me thinking about the state of my own soul and self-preoccupation. How often are my actions driven by my own desires for personal satisfaction, pleasure and comfort? How many of my daily thoughts are internal sitcoms which imagine/recreate situations that make me the star? The answer: too many.
Pleasure is such a funny thing. It can never be achieved by pursuing it. Similarly, satisfaction and fulfillment does not come from looking inward, but from looking upward and outward. The only way to find our lives is to lose it in the heart of the God for whom we were made and in whom we live, move and have our being. It is by His right hand that we find pleasures forevermore, and it is in Him, Christ Jesus, that we find our identity.
The way to freedom from the tyranny of ourselves, is to lay down our lives, following the model of our Saviour, we humble ourselves unto death- the death of self-centeredness- and live anew for the glory of God. This death (which occurs daily) frees us to love wholeheartedly, sacrificially and without comparison or regret, treating others as better than ourselves- all the while reveling in the complete security that being fully known and fully loved by a good God brings.
In order to maneuver a motorcycle, riders counter-steer. That is, they turn the bike in the direction opposite of the one they want to go, in order to get where they do (e.g. you would turn left in order to go right). In order to love rightly, and experience lasting pleasure and fulfillment, we have to counter-steer our hearts away from ourselves and our objectives- and toward God and serving others sacrificially.
Falling in love in the 21st century, falling in true love, looks like Jesus. To live is Christ and to die (to yourself) is gain.
Give me grace Lord, give me grace to crucify the old me- with its passions, desires, habits and sinful inclinations- and the freedom to live and love for you. All is for Your glory. I live for the light of Your face, and it is in Your light, not my own, that I see.
Francesca is a daughter, friend, avid reader, attorney-at-law, and porridge connoisseur. She enjoys Jesus and fulfilling His purposes for her life on Earth.