You’re So Vain …
How many worship leaders does it take to change a light bulb? Just one. He holds the bulb and the world revolves around him. I know – the poor worship leader gets a bad rap. I am self-centered and I bet you are too – at least in your unguarded moments. Selfishness has to be the oldest false god. Our world is filled with the idols, artifacts and wreckage of selfishness.
I could choose from countless examples, but one of the evidences of selfishness is divorce. Thankfully, our church family is doing well right now, but there are marital struggles everywhere. This will sound terribly simplistic, but the root cause of divorce is selfishness. The degree of selfishness is usually imbalanced between husband and wife one way or another, as is the subsequent victimization of one or the other. It is usually a two-way street, however, is it not? Please refrain from thinking of particular case studies, I have generalities in mind here.
CJ Mahaney has an excellent message on James 4:1-2 entitled “Cravings and Conflicts.” You can find a version here (October 26, 2006 at SBTS). I listened to another presentation of this message from www.covlife.org quite a while ago. It is very helpful. CJ says that when you have conflict, “The problem is worse than you think” and “The solution is easier than you think.” These conclusions come from a biblical understanding of sin and grace; an admission of self-centeredness and embracing the Gospel. If you are struggling with cravings and conflicts, this message will undress you, spiritually speaking (I’m reminded of Eustace Scrubb, the dragon).
I’m frustrated at my own selfishness. I know that the best antidote is worship – “seeing and savoring Christ,” as John Piper would put it. Nothing else will do it. I know my willpower will not do the trick, for even if I attain some sort of external conformity to a standard of behaviour and service, I’d be proud of that. No, immersion in the Gospel is required. The bonus of this approach is that getting rid of my selfishness is no longer the primary objective – knowing and enjoy God is. I’ve wasted a lot of prayer time over the years rehearsing my sins and failures. Confession is good and necessary, but God calls us to focus on Him first and foremost. This is where the truth of the Gospel brings blessed freedom.
When the church minimizes sin and downplays the cross, it misses the power of the Gospel to bring deliverance from the destructive false god of self. If we really love people, we will confront them with God’s perspective on sin and God’s remedy of the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.
By the way, if anyone finds the Carly Simon song I used for the title going through their minds now, I apologize. What a silly song. It really illustrates the spirit of the 70s, doesn’t it? Not that it’s any worse than popular music today.