Who is the first person you look at in a picture that includes you, plus many others?
I thought so! I always look at myself first to see how I look. Do I look my best? Am I making a funny face?
We can only see life through our own eyes, so it’s easy to get caught up in our story and forget that others are drudging along in their journey.
We think about our struggles, our money, our businesses, our family, our career, and our destiny.
But as Donald Miller said in one of my favorite books, Blue Like Jazz, “The most difficult lie I have ever contended with is this: life is a story about me.”
Don’t take this the wrong way, but maybe life is about more than just you.
I took a class on social psychology in college, and I remember learning about something called the “spotlight effect.”
It refers to our tendency to overestimate how much other people think about us.
When I tell someone I wrote a book, I believe they go home and think about my book and are very proud. But that’s just me thinking I’m in the spotlight.
In reality, they probably just go home and focus on what they have going on – tending to their work, family, thoughts, health, money.
The truth is they don’t care about my book. I’m not saying that to throw a pity party but to acknowledge how things really are.
And it is liberating when you realize that life is not all about you.
Because we have this “me” mindset in our culture, we transfer this thinking into the Bible.
For example, how are we taught to study the Bible?
Number one, choose a passage to read. And number two, figure out how to apply it to your personal life. So, we interpret it in a way that teaches ourselves a private lesson about something we’re going through.
I saw someone post this scripture the other day:
“At the right time, I, the LORD, will make it happen.”
They then said this scripture reminds them to relax and trust God because the devil can’t stop what God has promised.
So, the good-intending believer applied this scripture to their world – “In the right time, God will help me start my business.”
But the whole context of Isaiah 60 is a prophecy of how Jesus would bring in a New Covenant and make us righteous. At the right time, God would do this.
It even says in the previous verse that God would do this so that He can be glorified.
Doesn’t it seem like we’re being glorified a bit more when we make this scripture all about us and put ourselves in the spotlight?
Honestly, I don’t enjoy talking much in this manner because it makes me sound like the “scripture police.”
It might also make me seem insensitive and “not in touch with reality.”
We do play a role in all this, and I’m not making light of your personal life.
I do think this way of interpreting the Bible is an excellent way to bring encouragement.
But that’s not what the whole message of the Good Book is all about.
The real message is that Jesus endured the cross to give us freedom from sin and a new life. If we focus on that first, our personal life will fall into place effortlessly.
The Bible is not just a book filled with encouraging statements to comfort us when we’re having a bad day.
Ask: What did God do in the Bible that makes everything in my life OK?
Until next week.