There are three words which are very common in Christian writing—me, myself, I. When we’re focusing on the big I, we become smug, self-satisfied, self-centred. “Isn’t it marvellous what God has done for me?”
There is much zero Christian growth because people haven’t learned (and are not taught) to forget themselves. They are self-examining. Their life revolves around themselves. Their service for God is frozen like a popsicle because they think only of “me and my life.”
God’s plan is that we are to be unselfish; to be instruments in saving others—to be the messengers of the gospel. To do that we have to forget ourselves, to look outward not inward. “The Lord is ……not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9) How can we have the love of God and ignore those around us going to hell?
John F. Kennedy got it right, albeit in worldly terms, when he said: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but rather, ask what you can do for your country.” Substitute “God” for “your country” and the Christian point is made.
Paul and Silas were in jail with feet in stocks (Acts chapter 16). Yet they weren’t sitting there complaining: “Lord, where are you? Why did you let this happen to me?” They were praying and singing praises to God, forgetting themselves and the circumstances. The next moment an earthquake struck the jail, setting everyone free. The guard shouted “What must I do to be saved?” They were saved because of Paul and Silas’ attitude.
We have to remember that we are small and God is great. Whatever our problems, we’ll forget them if we keep our eyes on Him, not ourselves. It’s now a cliché, but “Let go and let God” is good advice.
When David stepped out to fight Goliath he forgot himself. He probably figured if he died he’d be with God anyway—in heaven. David didn’t say, “Poor little me. No chance. I’m small and Goliath is huge.” No, he knew God was greater than Goliath. As the song goes, “I am weak but He is strong.” True when we focus on God.
When a person has no regard for him or herself in the service of God, then amazing things will happen. There were three faithful men —Meshack, Shadrach and Abednego—who forgot themselves and ignored the king’s threats (Daniel chapter 3). They had a “so-what” attitude. For their defiance, King Nebuchadnezzar had them tied up and cast into the fiery furnace—heated seven times above normal.
Then the king was amazed to see the three walking loose in the flames. He also saw a fourth man whom he said was the Son of God. The three came out of the furnace untouched yet the guards on the fringe were killed by the heat. Those three forgot themselves, and God was able to do great things through them.
Further on in Daniel 6 we see how Daniel defied the king’s decree—no-one must worship anyone or anything except the king. Daniel knew he would be put into the lions’ den for worshipping God, but he forgot himself and trusted in the Lord. Into the den he went. Sure enough when the king visited the following morning, Daniel was unharmed. He told the king God had shut the lions’ mouths.
What a witness! That is dynamic, “forget yourself” Christianity. A far cry from the introverted “stay safe in church” mentality of today.
It all comes down to attitude. Like these great men of the Bible, we need to forget ourselves. When nothing else matters but serving God we’ll see revival. We’ll see miracles happen—here, now, today. God has never changed. We have.
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