Let me start talking about the typical American. We wonder why so many relationships are messed up these days. We have a growing disease among us-selfishness- and I believe it's the destroyer of relationships and the theme of hell.
Families- We love our families because our families are there for us. We use our parents when we need money or to get gifts on holidays. When it's convenient for us, we have family gatherings. Problems with family include divorce, family disagreements, and disrespect with teenagers or kids and their parents. We want our families to serve us. We like them because of what they do for us.
Problems arise when parents try to boss us teenagers or kids around. "It's my life so they should have no control over what I do"- says the typical teenager. We should love our families because they are family and God loved us. We should sacrifice time to spend time with them and put them before our personal needs. Family is such a special gift God has given us.
Friends- We like to become friends with people that are exactly like us. We share the same talents and skill levels. Yes we share the joys of appreciating that thing but so often are friendships stop there. It takes no sacrifice from us to have these shallow or convenient friends. It works out nicely because we can help each other with our hobby or with the homework we share. But do we truly care about the person who we are spending time with? Because we do not have to sacrifice for them our relationships seem to stay at a shallow, convenient level and when one friend gets desperate and has a need. They wonder where are my true friends? Well do you really have any? The beautiful thing is true friends. They sacrifice for each other, teach each other, and invest time in each other. When one friend cries, the other one cries with. It's not fake and not activity based. When you love someone you show them Jesus.
Boyfriends/Girlfriends- We want someone who will make us happy. We think about the things we want first. Even in churches we are told to make lists of everything we want in a guy. We think about Me Me Me, I I I. Clearly this is a problem. For a loving pure relationship you have to think about the other person first. You have to sacrifice for them, and they should sacrifice for you. A marriage is about service and devotion. We wonder why so many divorces are happening and hard break ups, it's because we put our needs before each others. If we are truly unselfish, we can love one another. With Christ's help, we can establish a spiritual, uplifting relationship that edifies each other and glorifies God. A relationship with Christ first will not easily be broken.
Summer Camp staff- ( a paragraph just for you ;) We all want our time off. We're all exhausted. We want to hang out with our friends and spend as much time with them as possible. But we have a goal to accomplish that is so much bigger than we can see, we need to show Christ to campers. If we take the initiative, and say today I will be a servant. Today I will be unselfish. I will help the counselors and give them a night off, just because I can...ect. This camp's atmosphere will change and we can all grow deeper. We are a family. Satan is working to destroy this positive atmosphere where we can witness to the campers. We must stay close to God and bring each other close to Him as well.
The Prosperity Gospel is popular. Many American churches are teaching that a Christian lifestyle leads to entitlement, success, and prosperity. Look at the contrast of Biblical teachings about money in Genesis 28: 20-23 and Luke 12:16-21. In Genesis, we are taught that everything on this earth is about God. We are stewards of His kingdom. Therefore if he blesses us with money- it's still his- but we can use it to spread his love with others. In Luke 12:16-21 the parable of a rich man who grew lots of crops is told. The man planted and planted and was rewarded with very good crops. Instead of being happy, he kept working, making more and more barns... More and More. More and More. Bigger and better. More successful. Reach your dreams. Achieve more for Christ. Capitalism and hoarding is not Christ's will. Money, gifts, talents- they are not ours to serve ourself. Jesus was not a rich man, nor did he ever use his powers to benefit himself. I find this amazing. I mean come on little things wouldn't hurt right? God is so generous, so loving, so caring.. So NOT SELFISH.
Capitalism says that self-interest will lead to the good of everybody. This selfish attitude has lead to major relationship problems and is destroying us. We are materialistic, individualistic, and self-serving people. God calls us to stewardship which involves spirituality and community. The joy of wealth we have is found in giving and sharing it with others.
2 Timothy 3:1,2 But know this that in the last days perilous times will come for men will be perilous lovers of themselves.
Luke 9:23 "If anyone come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
Let us not be naïve. This selfish culture we have is not ok if we are following Christ. By changing our selfishness, we will realize how much more joy there is in serving God and others. If we can surrender our selfishness to God, our hearts of joy and love will be restored and relationships will be renewed.