The Gravity of Christ
“True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less." -C.S. Lewis
When thinking about our relationships we’re often taught to watch out for the company we keep. There are various proverbs that remind us that our relationships with others will influence us and have the power to bring us down. It’s outward focused - what influence do others have on us? But what about my influence...my power...my ‘gravitational pull’ so to speak?
This Sunday, the pastor made a distinction between those who orbit Christ and those who demand that they be orbited by others. It was one of those gut check moments. I don’t do that do I? How many times a week do I demand my friends orbit around me - celebrating my words, appreciating my friendship to them, being concerned with my problems...?
This makes me sound like a narcissist, but per usual, I think it also shows up in more subtle ways. I think I demand an orbit around me anytime I’m focused on what good I’m doing versus what Jesus is doing in someone’s life. Maybe you’re not hungry for praise, but are you more concerned with how your words hit someone, or how you can serve them because it makes you feel better? I love doing things for people. It was a non-negotiable attribute of my family growing up, we loved people by showing up, being generous, giving of ourselves. But more often than not, if I’m brutally honest with myself - it’s an attempt to get someone into my orbit. I like the feeling of serving someone because they start to slowly orbit my gravitational pull: “Man, that was really generous of you!” “I’m not going to forget this - I owe you one!” “I feel like you’re someone who really cares about people…”
So what does it look like to push someone into the orbit of Christ? I think of John’s words: “He must become greater, I must become less.” What is my goal when I work/spend time with someone? It has to start here. It’s not wrong to enjoy loving people, serving them, doing things for them - that personal satisfaction is part of what makes it enjoyable. But it cannot be our goal. I cannot serve my wife because it makes me feel good - I serve my wife because it should make her love Jesus more.
I’m learning more and more that the sin I find difficult to confess and ultimately shed is the sin that pretends it’s not really there. I can think for a second and realize that in my interactions with people this week I was judgmental or talked more about myself than I should have...it’s a lot more difficult to understand the very ways I go to serve someone, or do something for them, can be an effort to bring them into an orbit around me rather than Christ.
“I must become less.” I’m learning that means sometimes I don’t get acknowledged for how I loved someone. I don’t get a ‘thank you’ or a ‘I appreciate you.’ Sometimes I say something brilliant and someone talks about what God is teaching them instead of what Michael is teaching them. These are all good things. I must become less...because others need to see Jesus more...and because I need to not see myself as more.
What would ‘becoming less’ look like for you this week?