How important is Jesus to you? Important enough to set aside all you know and seek him in earnestness? Is he important enough for you to set aside your opinion or even someone else's opinion and seek what he has said, what he has taught? Is he important enough for you to allow him to create a new thing in you; to give you a new set of values; to re-order your priorities? Is he important enough for you to lose everything you have to gain him?
Popular Christianity is moving us further away from Jesus. It constantly has us focused on ourselves; what we need or want. But everything about Jesus is dying to ourselves. It is us being stripped of us, filled with him and serving others. It is about us taking what we are taught and putting into practice. The reason Israel failed is because they were selfish and stubborn, which describes the times in which we live. It describes sections of the Church today.
We have put aside the idea of suffering for the gospel, or suffering for Jesus. In fact, many Christians today are confused by suffering and think it must be because they are doing something wrong. Isaiah spoke to a self-centered Israel and note the attitude he spoke to:
Therefore hear this now, you who are given to pleasures,
Who dwell securely,
Who say in your heart, ‘I am, and there is no one else besides me;
I shall not sit as a widow,
Nor shall I know the loss of children’;(Isaiah 47:8)
Notice the "I am" phrase which we find back when Moses was confronted by Yahweh and he had asked Yahweh who to tell the people had sent him. The responses was "I AM". So Isaiah is saying here that the people are acting as if they are God, as if they get to command their own future, as if they get to decide what is best for them. Remember that these are Yahweh's people, his chosen nation, a nation he grew from one man for the purpose of glorifying himself, a people who twice decided to submit themselves to Yahweh and be called his nation. They had the same purpose as the Church, to allow Yahweh to be glorified before the nations of the world.
Isaiah warned that the disaster they said would not happen was going to happen in an instant. My friends, the things you base your life on, the pleasures and joys, are temporary and will be gone in an instant. We are not here for ourselves and cannot afford to be distracted by temporary things. We are acting as if there is no God even though we say we worship him. We make our plans, take decisions, choose our own course as if there is no great lover of our soul:
For you have trusted in your wickedness;
You have said, ‘No one sees me’;
Your wisdom and your knowledge have warped you;
And you have said in your heart,
‘I am, and there is no one else besides me.’(v. 9)
Yahweh, through Isaiah, warned his people of the disaster that would come upon them from this attitude. How much greater will be the disaster that falls on us because we are united with Jesus and yet deny him in our actions and attitude? Here is an obscure warning to us that many of us miss:
But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. (James 3:14-17)
It's the self-seeking we should be concerned about because we are filled with it. We say it's all about Jesus but our habits, actions, attitude, and desires show otherwise. It blocks Father's wisdom and so the flesh takes over. The result is confusion and every evil thing. Look to what is suppose to be produced by Father's wisdom, by the Spirit in you.
We are not doing enough reflection and evaluation in our lives. We just keep trudging along thinking we are okay, but we aren't okay. We are very selfish, self-centered, making decisions that benefit us. Even when we do good it is for ourselves, because it makes us feel good. How often do we do good to those who throw it back in our face? Maybe once but never again because they are ungrateful. Yet they are the ones that Jesus told us to love. We need to spend more time checking out what Jesus actually instructed and then go and do those things, if he is truly our everything.