The Gospel of Us and the Selfie Generation

Monday, March 27, 2017

selfie

"He must become greater; I must become less." John 3:30 (NIV)

I don't think it is an exaggeration to say that today's culture can be called the selfie generation. If you have never snapped a photo of yourself and posted it online, you would be considered to be living in the dark ages; out of touch; old-fashioned. According to the Pew Internet Project’s research related to mobile technology, as of January 2014, 90% of Americans have a cell phone. According to mediabistro.com, there are over 15 billion selfies posted on Instagram. That's right–BILLION! That comes out to over two selfies for every person on the planet.

All of this points to the fact that we are simply obsessed with one thing - ourselves. I must point out that technology is not the culprit. We are. Our self-obsession existed long before cell phones, computers, and the Internet were invented. Humans, by nature, are self-absorbed. It goes against our nature to think about others above ourselves.

This points us to the beauty of the Gospel message and the example that we see in John the Baptist. As you read the story of this man, you see a portrait of the epitome of selflessness. John's sole purpose was to point the way to the one who was greater than he–Jesus. Not once does he promote himself. He is very careful to turn all attention away from himself and direct it to Jesus. When questioned by the religious leaders as to his identity and his message he is quick to say that he is not the Messiah. The more John is grilled about himself, the more he talks about Jesus.

When Jesus appears on the scene, John makes a point to get out of the way and put Jesus in the spotlight. His statement in John 3:30 says it all when he says, "He (Jesus) must become greater; I (John) must become less." It takes a great deal of courage to step out of the way and let someone else get the glory.

What is today's Church promoting? Who is getting the attention? I'm afraid it is us. Instead of directing attention to Christ we are directing all the attention to ourselves. Instead of proclaiming the Gospel of Christ we are proclaiming a different gospel–the gospel of us. We spend so much time, energy, and money promoting what we are doing, how we are doing it, and who is doing it that we have forgotten why we are doing it and who we are doing it for. Our motto has become "We must increase."

We are the selfie generation. We are desperately trying to get people to come to our church to hear how great our worship is and to listen to our latest and greatest sermon series on how to live a happier life rather than the crucified life. We are obsessed with attracting crowds rather than the presence of the Holy Spirit in our services. Our bulletins, websites, and Facebook pages tell the story of us rather than the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. In the eyes of the world we have become greater while Jesus has become less.

We need to understand that the world doesn't need us–it needs Jesus. People aren't interested in what we can do for them. It needs to hear what Jesus has done and can do for them. It desperately needs us to put our cameras down and get out of the way so that Jesus can show up and do what we can't do. Our motto must be, "We must decrease; He must increase." No more selfies. No more photo-bombing. Let us proclaim one simple thing - "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" When will we finally understand that it's not about us?

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