But a pearl
Of great price
Self-focus blurs everything else. Self is like a telescope. If you focus on it, you won’t see much but if you use it to look beyond it, you’ll see a glorious universe. One of the greatest blessings in life is to lose your focus on self by getting caught up in a worthy goal or purpose.
Self-focus messes us up. It doesn’t set us free.
When we’re led by our self-focused desires, we often step into self-deception. Your own self is often the goo that’s holding you in bondage. Instead of identifying or loving yourself, step beyond yourself. Until you find a compelling focus other than self-fulfillment, you’ll stay stuck in futile attempts at making yourself feel good.
Self-focus is the enemy of happiness–the key to unhappiness. It is confusing, not identifying. Clear vision requires looking beyond self, not staying self-mesmerized. I’m happiest when I ignore the sticky clamor of self. Never side with the desires and demons that try to torment and destroy you.
Desires are something you have, not something you are. Identifying yourself by your desires is completely misleading.
Wanting to be a good person and/or self-identifying as one doesn’t make you a good person. Jesus said that none are good. Until we set aside what we want to do, we won’t be able to focus on what God wants us to do.
Christian discipleship involves learning to set aside self and to identify and align with the inner promptings that come from Christ. Any sermon that doesn’t stir us up and make us hungry to be free from selfishness and closer to God hasn’t done its job. Too often church is like attending weekly lectures at a travel agency but never taking a trip.
I am a being of limited consciousness with the ability to freely choose where to focus my attention. I can focus on physical objects and activities, on internal thoughts, feelings, and desires, and on intangible realities like self, justice, good, evil, forgiveness, and God. I can make choices that help or harm myself and others.