Well I did both and was immediately confronted by the words of God, "for behold I am for you, and I will turn to you." Of course God is here talking to the mountains of Israel. But his sentiment is that these are his mountains which will bear fruit and nurture his people.
The reason that this was so convicting for me last night is that all my affections and sentiments were first and foremost turned towards me. I was totally for me. Without the miraculous opening of my Bible, I was destined to continue turned towards myself and be for myself, alone. What about the needs of my friend? They can wait till I've taken care of MINE.
It's funny how God's sentiments are rarely my own. When I feel my indignation is righteous, like God's, I almost always find that it's totally not. When I think my sentiments are selfless, they rarely are. Rarely am I simply for others and turned towards them.
My greatest enemy, other than the devil of course, is the monster that lurks within. The monster that says life is about me, happiness is about me, and satisfaction comes when I pursue me.
It never does. The deep satisfaction we all seek is only found in God. "We all know that Phil, thanks for blogging it! Now it's official!" But it's what we need to hear over, over, over, and over again. Did you hear that? It took four "over"s. When I think about it, the reason I need to hear this is that in my self-pursuit I'm actually acting against my self-interests. I'm me vs. me!
I don't know if you're like me, but if you are your pride is easily wounded and you care deeply how people treat you. You are easily offended, argumentative, and bitter. If this is true of you, as it is of me, now imagine a world that is made up people like this. It's the reason, when GK Chesterton was asked, "What do you believe is wrong with the world?" he answered, "I am what's wrong" (At least I think that's what he said - but he's dead now so he can't correct me. There's a good argument for quoting dead people.).
That's yet another reason the good news of the Gospel is so good. God is determined to change our selfish desires! God is turned towards us and is for us, in a determined effort to enable us to turn towards him and be for him and for others. As this transformation occurs in our lives, we begin to taste the scandal of the Gospel: that life is found in dying, that peace is found in seeking other's peace, and that joy is only a selfless gift away.
Sounds good doesn't it? A nice little theological package. Well it's a lot easier said than done. Today I ask that Jesus will enable me to turn to and be for others and I'll try and leave my death throws of self in his hands. God help me!