Servanthood in God’s Neighborhood Selfless Service inside a Selfie World.

How many selfies do you think you take a day?

“Selfie” was a word of 2013.

Oxford Dictionaries named “Selfie” the word of 2013.

It was defined as “a photo of yourself that you take, typically with a smartphone or webcam, and usually put on social media.”

Since then, we also got the word “Selfitis,” meaning “an obsessive-compulsive desire to take photos of oneself and post them on social media.”

June 21 is the national selfie day.

In 2022, the national selfie day happened on Tuesday. In 2023, the national selfie day will occur on Wednesday.

How many selfies do you think are taken in any given day?

How many selfies are taken a day?

According to Photutorial’s data, 92 million selfies will be taken daily across all devices in 2022. This number coincides with the fact that 2.3 billion photos are taken every day, 4% of which are selfies.

4% of all photos taken are selfies.

People take 2.3 billion photos daily, equating to 1.72 trillion annually in 2022.

In 2021, the number of photos taken was significantly lower due to pandemic restrictions–1.2 trillion.

Connect yourself to this link and the “selfie” numbers are just staggering.

https://photutorial.com/selfie-statistics/#:~:text=92%20million%20selfies%20are%20taken,adults%20have%20taken%20a%20selfie.

The Guiness Book of World Records currently recognizes the most self-portrait photographs (selfies) taken in three minutes as being 168 and was achieved by James Smith (USA) aboard the Carnival Dream cruise ship on 22 January 2018.

Our children are growing up in what has been dubbed “the selfie generation.”

Most photos kids take these days are of themselves.

The accessibility of digital cameras, the ease of taking self-portraits, and the rise of social media have all led to the popularity of “selfies,” the modern-day term for digital self-portraits.

Personally, I take my idea of “plenty” of selfies with the intention of sharing my life with my wife and our social media friends who are also people of faith.

When we take a selfie and post it, we let the world know what we are up to.

However, as many sociologists have noticed, the word selfie has taken on a meaning that goes far beyond the object of the camera lens. It’s not just in photos that children are often the focus — it can extend into their lives.

The selfie culture turns people’s focus onto themselves

— how they look, how many “likes” and “loves” and “hugs” they get on social media, what kind of clothing they wear, how much fun they all have, and so on.

However, what started out as a harmless, fun activity has now been linked to growing rates of depression — and certainly an increase in narcissism.

The great irony, of course, is focusing on ourselves doesn’t always equate to the idea “selfies make us happier; rather they can also serve to robs us of our joy.

Our worldview can become biased and divided, deeply prejudiced and skewed.

The challenge for parents today is teaching our children to take the focus off themselves and turn the camera around so they can see the diversity of others.

We need to teach ourselves and our children how to see the people around them.

First and foremost, this includes their friends, their siblings, their parents, and their teachers, those in the neighborhood with authority over them – the police.

But it extends beyond to the people they encounter in daily life: the bus driver, the janitor, the widow, the orphan, the homeless person on the street corner, people of all races and ethnicities, our world cultures and diverse nationalities.

Only when our children begin to see in others’ their God-Given intrinsic value and human ‘suffering’ can they begin to understand how they can help others.

When we take a selfie and post it, we let the world know what ‘joy’ we’re up to.

Whether we’ve just tried the new coffee shop on the corner, or decided to dye our hair red, the selfie shows who we are, what we are doing to the online world.

Selfies gives us a great view into the intensity of our “joyful” virtual existence.

However, “joyful virtual existences” are not the whole of God’s story in God’s neighborhood. His neighborhood is a good deal more “diverse,” and “ugly.”

The intensity of that “Virtual Reality of that “Selfie?”

The intensity of that diverse ugliness as put on full display …. indescribable!

The intensity of that diverse ugliness as put on full display … beyond impactful!

The intensity of that diverse ugliness as put on full display … highly dangerous!

Those are the “Selfies” we seldom see on social media – they are censored or come with the poignant warning – “may not be suitable for young audiences.”

I always had the thought “Selfies” are a lot like the Bible should be in our lives.

The Bible should be showing us who we are, what we ourselves are to be doing.

Consider taking this “Selfie” and spreading it all over social media ……

Matthew 5:13-16Amplified Bible

Disciples and the World

13 “You are the [a]salt of the earth; but if the salt has [b]lost its taste (purpose), how can it be made salty? It is no longer good for anything, but to be thrown out and walked on by people [when the walkways are wet and slippery].

14 “You are the light of [Christ to] the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; 15 nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good deeds and moral excellence, and [recognize and honor and] glorify your Father who is in heaven.

The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

OK, how many of us get really excited when we see that media ad with a person holding up a bag of potato chips or a box of crackers, saying “reduced sodium”?

Well, probably not too many of us – potato chips are considered “junk food.”

Because salt is delicious.

Salt is needed for many essential functions within our bodies – being our hearts and their need to keep beating and us alive plus our muscles and our kidneys.

It’s why chips and crackers, French fries and pizza and many other things taste good. Salt exists to make food better. That is one of its God-given purposes.

In this passage Jesus says

we are “the salt of the earth” . . . and “the light and also “the critically essential internal balances which keeps our bodies working in God’s much necessary and healthy harmony and our hearts beating so we can remain alive” of the world.”

He doesn’t say we “can be” or “should be” these things.

He says we already are, by way of our new identity in him. Jesus expects us to bless people, to build them up, and to do what we can to help meet their needs.

He expects us to use our words and our actions to stick out in this unhealthy, unbalanced, biased, divided dark world, pointing people to the kingdom of God.

This isn’t limited to formal ministry in the church.

The ways we treat our spouses, talk to our coworkers, and use our resources or engage with social media are all examples of how we are called to be salt and light. Every single sphere of life presents us with salt and light opportunities.

If we walk in step with Christ, putting his desires ahead of our own, we are like a welcome seasoning, a source of critically needed, critically essential balance to enhance the taste of food, or like a beacon of light shining in this dark world.

WHAT SELFIES TEACH US ABOUT OURSELVES, OUR ENGAGING GOD’S WORD

The Bible shows us who we really are. If we need a self-esteem boost, the Bible shows us our great worth to God. (1 Cor 6:20)

If we are afraid, the Bible shows us that we are bold. (Proverbs 28:1)

If we feel we can’t make it, the Bible shows us we can. (Phil 4:13)

Just like a selfie, the Bible shows us who we are.

We are Selfless Servants of God – Selflessly Sent into God’s Neighborhood.

Mark 10:35-45 Amplified

35 James and John, the two sons of Zebedee, came to Him, saying, “Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask of You.” 36 And He replied to them, “What do you want Me to do for you?” 37 They said to Him, “Grant that we may sit [with You], one on Your right and one on Your left, in Your glory [Your majesty and splendor in Your kingdom].” 38 But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism [of suffering and death] with which I am baptized?” 39 And they replied to Him, “We are able.” Jesus told them, “The cup that I drink you will drink, and you will be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized. 40 But to sit on My right or left, this is not Mine to give; but it is for those for whom it has been prepared [by My Father].”

41 Hearing this, the [other] ten became indignant with James and John. 42 Calling them to Himself, Jesus said to them, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their powerful men exercise authority over them [tyrannizing them]. 43 But this is not how it is among you; instead, whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wishes to be first and most important among you must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a [a]ransom for many.”

We might not do a very good job, or take that “quality selfie,” “separating our selfish selves, from our selfless selves” or by our “selfie we’re worth much, are bold, or we can make it, but our feelings don’t matter. What matters is what is true, and the truth is found in God’s word. God’s word shows us who we are.

Our best “selfie” both with and against God’s greatest “selfie” taken together with our engagement of God’s Word in His Neighborhood also shows us what we truly look like to ourselves against who we are serving, what we are doing and how well we are projecting ourselves, projecting our ‘selfies” plus God.

Reading the Bible can open your eyes to habits that you and I need to get rid of, or things in my life and your life that need to change. We should be constantly striving for “selfies” to be more like “selfies of God, Jesus Christ, Holy Spirit.”

So, when we take a “selfie” of an attitude or moral or an ethic in our life that doesn’t line up with the Bible, we truly need to address that habit or attitude.

A Selfless Call

The more we think of ourselves, the less we think of others, and the more self-centered we become.

Jesus tells us the GREATEST commandment is “Love the Lord our God, with all of thy heart, and with all of thy soul and all of thy mind.” (Matthew 22:37-38)

Jesus tells us that the second greatest commandment is to “love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:39).

Which means we “Love ourselves better, best, greatest – 100% LAST!”

Again, our default affection is for ourselves.

We love ourselves and care for our bodies by eating and sleeping. We rarely ignore our own needs. Jesus says to think of our neighbors with the same affection. We must care for them, give to them, and seek to meet their needs.

Paul, through the authority given to him by God, explains Jesus’ command further. Not only do we need to love our neighbors as ourselves, but we also need to value them more than ourselves. He says this in Philippians 2:3-4:

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to their own interests, but also to the interests of others.

A Selfless Savior

How do we get past such self-centered thinking and lifestyles as we see (or post) selfie after selfie on our screens each day?

The ongoing self-glorification on social media may not have directly caused you to stumble into the sin of selfishness today.

But the social acceptability of this self-worship feeds our tendency to make light of such sin in our world today.

When we feed our minds constantly with thoughts of ourselves, we easily disregard others, justify our own sin.

Paul continues in Philippians 2 with this:

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (v.5-8)

To love our neighbors, think of them above ourselves as the Lord commands us to in Philippians 2:3-4, we must have the mind of Christ—a humble mind.

The way to fight the sin of selfishness is to ask God to renew our minds so that they become like Christ’s.

With “perfect joy,” in perfect selflessness, he regarded the greatest need of every human—forgiveness of sin and reconciliation with God—and the will of his Father as infinitely more important than his own glory, even to the point of laying down his life for us at the cross (Hebrews 12:2).

Turn Your Camera Around

Hebrews 12:3 Amplified Bible

Just consider and meditate on Him who endured from sinners such bitter hostility against Himself [consider it all in comparison with your trials], so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

We must turn the selfie lens away from our faces—away from our needs and wants—onto others, and onto Christ. We must not grow weary and lose heart, pray that he will humble us enough to care for our neighbors above ourselves.

When turn our cameras around, our “selfies” point of fixation changes, we will start using our resources differently by uniting, inviting others into our homes, giving more than we receive, helping others succeed, admiring others’ beauty, and doing more GOD activities for the sake of lost souls, not just lost “likes”.

Humility will never be our default attitude on our own, but it is Christ’s.

Hebrews 4:14-16Amplified Bible

14 Inasmuch then as we [believers] have a great High Priest who has [already ascended and] passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession [of faith and cling tenaciously to our absolute trust in Him as Savior]. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize and understand our weaknesses and temptations, but One who has been tempted [knowing exactly how it feels to be human] in every respect as we are, yet without [committing any] sin. 16 Therefore let us [with privilege] approach the throne of grace [that is, the throne of God’s gracious favor] with confidence and without fear, so that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find [His amazing] grace to help in time of need [an appropriate blessing, coming just at the right moment].

Let us discipline ourselves to study and ponder the Word of God muchly, keep running boldly to his throne of grace in our time of need and ask for help. We need help from the only one who is perfectly selfless, and he promises to give it.

So, the next time you raise a “selfie stick or two or three” snap a selfie or pick up your Bible let it be a reminder of how important the word of God is. God’s Word is living, powerful, can change our thoughts, actions if we let it. Challenge yourself today to go deeper into God’s word and let His words transform you.

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

Lord, as Your Children, we humbly pray that you would renew our selfhood as the People of God – we are not to be the remains of a goal-less club rather, the Body of Christ, the Church- the Bride of Christ, the King who is over all things.

Father God, through your power and through your people,

Let your kingdom come.

Help us to show the world the true “selfie” of your Church: by faithfulness to the Master; by love for him and his creations; by participating in his work of global mission and servant ministry giving flavor to the world, in his humility.  

Father God, through your power and through your people,

Let your kingdom come.

We ask you to give us the privilege, through your grace, of regaining our role as renewers of our world, as the people who serve our neighbors, our community, heal our society, who improve our surroundings, who improve circumstances.  

Father God, through your power and through your people,
Let your kingdom come.

Give us the discipline to read and study and ponder your Word. Give us the power to obey your will for our lives, for each other, for others, in acceptance, that understanding comes by a spirit of obedience to you, and that the source of life is your salt and your light, your heartbeat, your blood which gives to us life.  

Father God, through your power and through your people,
Let your kingdom come.

Let us learn to make neighbors and how to love them. Let us expect great and miraculous things from you. Let us always learn; let us persevere through the process of extending and inheriting God’s kingdom; let us be called ‘repairers of the breach’ and ‘restorers of streets of our towns and cities to be lived in.’  

Father God, through your power and through your people,
Let your kingdom come.

https://translate.google.com/

Author: Thomas E Meyer Jr

Formerly Homeless Sinner Now, Child of God, Saved by Grace.

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