Sunday, January 09, 2005
The Solution to Me! Me! Me!
In the movie, Lord of the Rings -- The Return of the King, there is a character named Gollum. He once murdered to get "The Ring", and was so corrupted by it that he shriveled into a despicable little creature so pitiful it's hard to hate him. His corruption was characterized by intense self-centeredness, which culminated in a scene hard to forget. Having lost the ring, it was now being carried off by the Hobbit hero Frodo, to be destroyed. In the unforgettable scene, Gollum is once again contemplating murder, the murder of Frodo and his faithful companion Sam. The evil Gollum talks to himself in the mirror of a pool of water, getting more and more excited at the thought of murdering them to regain The Ring, hatching his plan to feed them to a giant spider, until he gleefully shouts to himself a climactic, "And take it for Me-e-e-e-e!!"
Such is the height of self-centeredness. Me! Me! Me!
Every Christian has heard the concept of being Christ-centered versus being self-centered. And we all will agree that being Christ-centered is best. But what is being Christ-centered? Is it dutifully serving Him, honoring Him, doing good deeds for Him, etc.? You know what I mean, "Only one life, twill soon be past; only what's done for Christ will last?" I know this is the common view, but let me take a little different tack (actually a radically different tack).
Being Christ-centered, biblically speaking, is being in a relationship to Him in such a way as to be fixated with Him. It's not the deeds. It's the "looking upon" Him. Seeking His face. Seeking Him. Knowing Him, as opposed to knowing about Him. Fellowshiping with Him. Gazing on Him. Then, out of that, comes the serving, honoring, and so forth. But with joy and the power of the Spirit. When we look upon Him, we escape the obsession with ourselves. We stop asking ourselves, "How am I doing in my Christian life? Am I good enough? Am I working hard enough for the Lord? Am I acting holy enough? I, I, I, me, me, me!" We turn outward from our own navels to the glorious Son of God, our Lord, our Friend, our Savior, our Beloved.
And then something mysterious and wonderful happens:
"But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit." (2 Corinthians 3:18)
A.W. Tozer, in The Pursuit of God, put it this way:
"The man who has struggled to purify himself and has had nothing but repeated failures will experience real relief when he stops tinkering with his soul and looks away to the perfect One. While he looks at Christ, the very things he has so long been trying to do will be getting done within him. It will be God working in him to will and to do."