In those moments God is reminding us that our world has been corrupted and things are not what they should be. Satan, sin, and death are wreaking havoc throughout this world.
Another way we see the corruption of sin is through the selfishness of people. Many of the problems that exist in the world are the result of human selfishness. These problems were either caused by selfishness or they continue because or selfishness. This tells us that a tremendous amount of good could be done if people just lived out to the two great commandments: love God and love people. When we live with compassion and mercy we fight against the evil that is present in the world.
The fact that we are selfish creatures shouldn’t be a surprise. After all, we spend all our time with ourselves, and our thoughts are often on us and our feelings. If we are going to have compassion for another person it is going to happen because we intentionally switch our focus to them.
Spiritual formation in Christ is important because it reorients our focus. Instead of ourselves being the most important thing in the world we begin to value Jesus and his will as the most important. We begin to see the world through the eyes of Jesus.
How did Jesus see people? Matthew 9:36 says, “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” (NLT)
When we see the world through the eyes of Jesus we see things as they truly are. We will realize that people are being terrorized and oppressed by Satan and his kingdom, and the injustices and indignities inflicted on humanity will be more heartbreaking.
Dallas Willard wrote:
Apprentices of Jesus will be deeply disturbed about many things, but they will be largely be indifferent to the fulfillment of their own desires as such. Merely getting their own way has no significance for them, does not disturb them. (Renovation of the Heart, p. 72)
Think about how you respond when you don’t get your way.
I am embarrassed to say that I don’t respond very well. I become frustrated and angry, and this is seen in how I treat other people, especially my wife and children. Christian spiritual formation seeks to make us more like Jesus, and in the process help us see the world through his eyes.
The more time we spend with Jesus through disciplines like prayer, Bible study, fasting, worship, and service the more our hearts will be shaped to be like his heart. We will discover that the things that disturb Jesus also disturb us, and the little things that inconvenience us are no longer that important.
Imagine how our lives would be different if we could get rid of selfishness. Instead of spending so much time trying to craft our version of the perfect life we would be using our time to do the will of our Lord. In order for God’s purpose to become primary in our lives our rights have to become secondary. That doesn’t happen easily.
What the world needs are people are have found their life in doing God’s will. That is what we were created to do and what it means to be created in the image of God. This is why the apostle Paul wrote:
For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. (Romans 8:19-21; NLT)
As we learn to lay down our rights and be conformed to the image of Jesus, we become the people this world needs. The world doesn’t need more people who primarily look out for themselves, it needs people who will live like Jesus.