All Together Now

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor that which is evil; cling to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing [diligently] in prayer; Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits (Rom.12:9-16).

We struggle for uniqueness, and we strive for individuality. Our hope is that we find ourselves, our purpose and our place in this world. A place in this world that was made specifically for us. A place that no one else can fill. We seek a place wherein we feel that we are the perfect fit and that we are somehow special as an individual. And this is not just a fact of growth as a person, it has become a right of ascension in a society where we have adopted the attitude of looking out for number one.
And it is not enough that I find who I am as a person, a family member or even a Christian; I will strive so that others will also see my importance and all that there is that makes me a special and unique individual. While many would say that there is nothing wrong with such behavior, we should not overlook the fact that as we strive for independence and individuality, our focus becomes more and more self-centered. So much so that it becomes harder and harder to truly see things from anther's point of view, or perhaps even suffer with them when they suffer or be joyful when they are joyful.
It seems to be the trend to find creative ways to build one's self-esteem. And while it is necessary for us not to see ourselves as less than we are, it is also dangerous to over inflate our personal viewpoints of ourselves to an extreme and idealistic distorted level. What's more is that we should not think we need to find ways to boost ourselves and our self worth, it seems to be a natural tendency to promote one's self or to even distort the truth in favor of a better reflection of who we are. We seem to naturally gravitate toward whatever is good for the self while neglecting our effect on the whole of society, or even on those closest to us.
We are not an island. Yet we live our lives acting as if what we do or say carries very little weight. But if we stop being so narrow-minded, looking solely to our own existence as though we are the center of the universe, we might discover that we are just a small part of a much greater whole. We are responsible for far more than just ourselves, for everything we say or do ripples outwardly into the lives of those around us. No where does God say to us that He wants us to do as we please or that we should go out and build a life and lifestyle that is centered around ourselves. Instead, we are frequently instructed that we should "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others" (Phil.2:3-4).
We are all together. And what one does affects the others. There is no escaping that and there is no shirking of the responsibility we have to care for each other, and to see that every decision we make weighs in the balance of all things and in all lives. Our first need is to stop living as though we were put on this earth to live as an individual. While we are an individual, we hold a place in the greater whole. And it is necessary for us to function properly within our place for the good of all people. Ask God to help us to see the greater whole, and to show us ways to serve others and to move away from serving self.


Day by Day Devotionals: www.daybyday.org