A report published last year shows that the number of people around the world who die each year from taking a selfie is growing rapidly. The increase in death is being caused by people going to extreme lengths to take a selfie in order to impress other people on social media.
Two months ago, 22 year old Dean Steele from Scotland was knocked by a car on a German motorway while taking a selfie. Not all selfies lead death. Some of them are about celebrating death! Funeral directors in Canada have been educating people that taking selfies over a corpse and posting it to social media is disrespectful.
The Bible tells us that we were not created to live like that. Our lives are designed by God to love God with all our being! God created us to live in a loving union with God the Father, Son and Spirit. But our parents Adam and Eve rebelled against God’s love. All of us have been living for ourselves ever since. We have rejected the love of God and swapped it with self-love and endless selfies!
The good news is that God is not withholding his love from us. God has sent His Son, our Lord Jesus to take away our sin and rebellion and lead us back into His outstretched loving arms. The good news of Jesus is that we can have a new true loving life originally intended by God. So what is this true love intended by God? It is a love for God himself.
The first thing that God does when you become a follower of Jesus is to free you from empty self-love and enable you to be a lover of God. John says in his first letter, “We love because he first loved us” [1 John 4:19]. The “we” is everyone who has genuinely turned away from the life of sin and is trusting in Jesus as their only Lord and Saviour.
If you have done that, you have experienced spiritual birth, and God is now your Father and you are now part of His family And because you are now a beloved child of God, you now love God as your Father who loves us through His Son, our Lord Jesus. We know 1 John 4:19 is talking about our love for God because the next verse talks about how our love for God must be genuine.
Earlier this year Channel 4 broadcast a documentary series called My Online Nightmare. It features a woman called Patra who takes in her 19-year-old niece Marissa to live with her in 2014. But soon their relationship descends into quarrels. So Patra decides to create a fake Facebook profile to find out what Marissa is up to. She pretends to be someone else, a man called Tre and befriends Marissa.
As Marissa starts to know Tre, she starts letting off steam about her situation with aunt Patra. After one massive quarrel, Marisa messages 'Tre' and says, “I feel so trapped. You have to help me get out of here, I hate my aunty, I hate everyone here. Please come to the house and help kill my aunty”. She goes on to gives “Tre” all the details about how to help him do it without realising it is her aunt.
Stories like that shock us because we don’t expect our children to try and arrange our murder, or even the murder of their aunt. All children are meant to love their parents and guardians. In an even greater way, all true children of God must love God because He is our loving Father in Jesus. How can we possibly not love Him, when God has adopted us into his family?
Before God created you, He set His eyes of love on you. And when you were finally born in this world, you arrived as a rebel against God. You were be born in a human race engulfed by sin and rebellion. But God did not abandon you. He engineered a plan to win you back. God has come as a man in the person of Jesus, and paid the price for your rebellion on the cross so that you can become His child forever.
This God now lives in your heart permanently. Everyday he is giving himself to you. Every minute is holding you lovingly in his arms. Every second, He is showering you with His love. He never gives up loving you. He is saying, “I have loved you with an everlasting love”. And because this loving God lives in all his children, if you are a child of God, this God enables you to have new loving affections for Him.
This is the heart of Christianity: all true children of God love God because God has loved us first and we have his love in our hearts. Many people are confused on what it means to be a child of God. Some think it is being a “good person”; attending a good church; baptism, etc The Bible says a true child of God is a person who truly loves God because she has accepted and experienced the love of God in her heart.
This love of God has freed you from living for yourself. Love for self is the cruellest of all slaveries: it promises everything and delivers zero! But when you have the love of God, it enables you to surrender your life to God out of a deep and liberating love for Him. Can you relate to what I am saying? Do you know something of this personal experience of the love of God that propels you to love God?
Only true children of God love God. So you can’t begin to love God until you first surrender your life totally to Jesus and are truly born of God. So can I encourage you to do that today. Confess your sin and handover the keys of your life to God! Live for him and not for yourself. This is the true intention of God’s love for you.
Copyright © Chola Mukanga 2017
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