Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing"1 (Lyrics)
Can you imagine anyone risking their life for the sake of a selfie (a self-portrait using one's cell phone)? It happens, and that's why "Selfie-Free Zone" signs are posted in various areas of the world. Some spots are especially appealing to people wanting a thrilling selfie — a picture that will go viral on social media. Selfie-seekers, in going after a sensational pose, sometimes fall off cliffs or tall buildings, get hit by trains, or drown. They lose their balance or don't see what's behind them. Despite warnings, some (mostly under 21 and males) still venture close to edges and ledges. They ignore "Selfie-Free Zone" signs in their insatiable quest for fame — even for fifteen minutes.
In God's kingdom, there's no place for such celebrity fads — or any form of self-glory. God's kingdom is a Selfie-Free Zone. Jesus knew this, which is why He resisted the lure of gaining acclaim by jumping off a tall building and getting rescued by God. Jesus said, "Your approval means nothing to me" (John 5:41 NLT) and "If I want glory for myself, it doesn't count" (John 8:54 NLT). That's true for God's people, too.
During Jesus' ministry, there was a version of "selfie-fever" amongst people who wouldn't admit that they believed in Jesus for fear of the Pharisees, "for they loved human praise more than the praise of God" (John 12:43 NLT).
Let's admit that we're all tempted to use whatever is at our disposal to gain recognition. This devotional is not to point fingers; it's to look within our own hearts and realize that deep down, we are no different from the selfie-seekers who are trying to boost their self-worth by seeking recognition from others. It's humbling to see this in ourselves. Beneath our drive for attention is a God-given need for love and belonging; but it has gone awry. The glory disappears as quickly as the "likes" vanish, and we must try ineffectively again and again.
Let's admit it: any pursuit for self-glory is a dead-end path. It holds us hostage in its grip by keeping us self-absorbed. It robs us of a passion for God and others. It depletes our lives spiritually, emotionally, and physically. We become enslaved to a treadmill: whatever preserves our image in the eyes of others. We'll never know and value who we truly are. We'll never truly experience the free and fulfilling life that God intended for us — not until we die to our false pursuit in God's Selfie-Free Zone: His kingdom and reign. Here we find a better life in Christ.
Luke 9:24 – If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. (NLT)
Dear friend, do you really believe these words of Jesus? Are you convinced that He can liberate us from our need to boost our sense of worth? He can fully satisfy our need for love and belonging. That's salvation!
I point this out in the hope of invigorating our passion for the good news of Christ. It's what our world cries out for, beneath all the shallow, fruitless ways of finding meaning and purpose!
Prayer: Lord, show us where our longing to be liked and to fit in has dulled our appreciation for Your gift of salvation and made us ashamed of the gospel. Convince us of its power to save people from their self-designed pursuits. Bring examples of this miracle to our attention. Deepen our passion to see others experience the rich, fulfilling, eternal blessings of Your salvation. Amen.