You’ve heard of “extreme sports,” an athletic activity with a high level of danger involved. Well, “selfies” seem to now have an extreme category of their own. Recently, stories have popped up around the globe of people risking life and limb to snap a photo of themselves in dangerous places or situations.
For instance, an extreme selfie craze in Hong Kong has college students climbing the tallest skyscrapers in the city to take their own photo at the top! In July, a man grabbed a selfie while running with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain. And just last week, a 24-year-old man was arrested after climbing the Brooklyn Bridge to take a few selfies. He risked his life to snap a pic of himself against the New York City skyline.
Sadly, these extreme selfies can end in disaster and heartbreak. A few weeks ago, a family from Poland visited some cliffs in Cabo da Roca, Portugal. While attempting to take a photo of themselves and the view, the parents fell off the cliff to their deaths while their two young children watched.
Our culture promotes self-centeredness, selfishness, and even extreme narcissism. It’s all about “me,” all the time. From over-indulgence at the all-you-can-eat buffet to “look-at-me” social media to “do whatever it takes” to get ahead at the work place values, our society pushes us to put ourselves before everyone else. Even to our own harm.
Even Christians have a hard time not drifting with this cultural flow. And while a few pics on Facebook may be harmless enough, the attitude saturates everything and before you know it we’ve become an extreme “selfie,” putting ourself first in everything, all the time.
How do you know if you’re an extreme selfie? Here are a few characteristics:
- Greedy and Self-indulgent – An extreme selfie may appear to do all the right things but the inside of us is far different. We want and want and give into our selfish desires (Matthew 23:25).
- Loves self first – An extreme selfie will love herself more than anyone else and it will show in her actions (2 Timothy 3:2-5).
- Overly ambitious – An extreme selfie will be so driven by the desire to get ahead and succeed, they will use and even harm others in the process (Galatians 5:20).
- Selfish service – An extreme selfie may even “serve” Jesus merely for what’s in it for them (Philippians 1:17).
When we put ourselves first and selfishly seek to fulfill our own desires we really harm ourselves in the long run. We end up so full of ourselves we miss out on Jesus and His best for us. We miss the joy of humbly serving and doing life together with a body of believers. And we miss the blessing of joining God in what He’s doing in the world.
Here’s a quick summary of God’s call away from extreme selfishness:
- Deny ourselves and follow Jesus – It’s in “losing” our life that we truly find life (Luke 9:23-25).
- Look out for the needs and interests of others (Philippians 2:4).
- Love others unselfishly (1 Corinthians 13:5).
- Serve others rather than indulging self (Galatians 5:13).
- Lay down our own life and let Jesus live His life through us (Galatians 2:20).
When we come into a saving relationship with Jesus, our life is no longer our own. Jesus wants to use us to serve others. He wants to use our time, energy, resources – our very life – to fulfill His plans and purposes. We are no longer our own, we belong to Him.
In what areas do you struggle most with giving complete control to Jesus? What areas of selfish seem to have the biggest hold on you?