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The Birthday: All Her, All Day

The Birthday: All Her, All Day

Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have brought trouble on me by making me stink to the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites and the Perizzites. My numbers are few, and if they gather themselves against me and attack me, I shall be destroyed, both I and my household.” Genesis 34:30

Yesterday was my wife’s birthday, so I took the day off and planned to do whatever she wanted – all Barb, all day – and we did just that. Still, I got up early for my time at the gym. Then, when she went to her gym, I ran back and get one more workout done. So, even though it was her day, and we spent the rest of it doing what she wanted, I got my important stuff done. We had a great day, and she didn’t begrudge my time at the gym because she’s a wonderful wife, but as I was thinking about today’s passage, I got to thinking about my propensity for self-centeredness. How does this birthday affect me?

I’ve often said that drugs weren’t my greatest life problem. They were simply the most obvious symptom. Rather, my greatest life problem has always been that I do whatever I want. To some, this might seem quite normal, but the Christian life is meant to be the opposite of normal. To be a follower of Christ is to daily abandon myself to follow his will, not mine. I’m supposed to love God above all, while loving those around me as myself. Instead, it’s my tendency to love me above all, doing whatever I want. All Scott, all day, all the time.

It seems that this was Jacob’s propensity as well. Jacob life was defined by deceiving, cheating, and lying to those closest to him to get whatever he wanted. Then, he seemed to experience genuine transformation after his wrestling match with God, becoming a new man. But, like most of us, though he intended to follow God, he still struggled with the old self. In today’s passage, when his daughter Dinah was raped, Jacob responded with indifference. The most upset he got was when his son’s exacted vengeance by killing the perpetrator and his family. Only then did Jacob get riled up, because the conflict now directly affected him. Do you know what this will do to me?

We’re all prone to be a little self-centered. It’s simply our nature to look out for our own interests. Healthy relationships though, aren’t built on self-centeredness and living for ourselves is the surest path to misery. When Christ commanded that we abandon ourselves to live for him, he knew that this was the only way we could experience authentic life, because that’s how God made us.

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