Blog

Feb 19, 2020 08:00am
This is How to Avoid Total System Failure
0 Comments 295 Views

Who among us suffers from loneliness, depression, anxiety or extended periods of darkness? 

Yup.

We live in a society right now where the system is failing. Total system failure. A lot of life has been stripped from our lives. We are lacking joy, lacking life, so often. Why? 

Well, there are several reasons (I can’t name them all) to contemplate:

First, social media (or anti-social media!)

I have a lot to say about this, but despite its benefits, our addiction to screens is killing us, isn’t it? We are addicted to likes. We are marketing the best parts of ourselves but hiding the rest. We compare ourselves to others. We hide from real life (RL) by immersing ourselves in a First Person Shooter or RPG. 

Teens aren’t learning how to properly socialize – the studies conducted everywhere are revealing this.

Two tips that have helped me recently (learned from The Carey Nieuwhof Podcast): 

First, I turn my phone off (completely off) for a full hour every day. And I have my phone off for an entire day every week. Fridays. You think I’m crazy. You think you can’t do it. You think it won’t bless you. Try it. 

Second, I delete my Instagram app every time I’m done with it – so that when I want to get back on, I have to re-download it. It keeps me from the mindless thumb-scrolling.

Second, capitalist discontentment

A reason why we’re experiencing total system failure is because you have about, hmm, 1,000 companies every day trying to make you feel discontent. Did you know that?! The way our economy works is this: Tech companies, fashion companies, whatever, want you to feel bad about what you have so that you buy their stuff, and they make money.

I walked through the mall last week and just felt awful. “Wow, I don’t have that new jacket. I need it! Wow, I don’t have that new gadget. I need it!” 

I walked in feeling purty good about life but left feeling like a loser.

Third, inner self worship 

We live in a society that worships our inner self – and it’s killing us. “Be you…and don’t listen to anyone else” is the battle cry. All authority structure is wrong. All authority structures are oppressing you. Parents. Teachers. Pastors. You name it. Wrong.

The only person who isn’t wrong is you. So listen to yourself. Your inner self. So goes the mentality . . . yikes – system failure!

Problem? Uh, yeah – at the end of the day, we’re all complete morons. I mean that. Let’s just admit it. Like, I’m a total idiot. Left to my inner self, I’d commit to nobody and nothing. On a whim I’d leave my wife, abandon my kids, not show up to my job.

People who worship their inner selves aren’t happy at all. Just look around. Sure, they’re getting short-term pleasure fix after pleasure fix. But the system is crashing. 

It’s all about me, me, me. That leads to me-sery (get it, misery?). Never mind.

Where Jesus shows up

So, what do we do? How can Jesus transform us?

He says, as you know, “I am the way and the truth and the life (John 14:6).” Jesus is promising what our culture is promising – a full, abundant, satisfying life. A life of joy, a life of flourishing. But only one path holds true. 

Our world says, “Hey, you want a flourishing life? Be true to you. Fill yourself up. Center on yourself.” It’s a lie. We’re doing just that and we’ve never seen higher rates of depression, loneliness, and anxiety.

That’s because we humans are not meant to focus on ourselves. That is a system failure.

But Jesus says the exact opposite. “Hey, joy and abundant life is found not by filling up yourself but by emptying yourself to fill up other people.” This is what “dying to self” means. 

For those who lack joy

Here’s what it means for us. 

If you are lacking joy right now, like, if you’re not satisfied and in a dark spot, start emptying yourself out for those around you. Re-read that sentence.

Work to bring joy to others by becoming a servant and, boom, your joy will fill up. Another way to say this, although it’s kinda older language, is to glorify others – to make much of others – to make those around you the big deal in the room, not yourself.

Tim Keller has something to say about that: “To glorify someone is also to serve or defer to him or her. Instead of sacrificing their interests to make yourself happy, you sacrifice your interests to make them happy. Why? Your ultimate joy is to see them in joy.”

Your ultimate joy is to see them in joy.

So, to wrap this all up, we live in a society right now that is trying to enslave us with this lie: “You are happiest when you serve yourself most.” 

But that system is crashing as we speak. The life Jesus offers us is actually life, even though it’s not what we’d expect. He says, “You are happiest – like, your life is the most abundant it can be – when you serve others most. Yes, your joy increases when you increase their joy.”

Let this become our daily pursuit, and so let the shadows pass.

Who among us suffers from loneliness, depression, anxiety or extended periods of darkness? 

Yup.

We live in a society right now where the system is failing. Total system failure. A lot of life has been stripped from our lives. We are lacking joy, lacking life, so often. Why? 

Well, there are several reasons (I can’t name them all) to contemplate:

#1 Social Media (or anti-social media!)

I have a lot to say about this, but despite its benefits, our addiction to screens is killing us, isn’t it? We are addicted to likes. We are marketing the best parts of ourselves but hiding the rest. We compare ourselves to others. We hide from real life (RL) by immersing ourselves in a First Person Shooter or RPG. 

Teens aren’t learning how to properly socialize – the studies conducted everywhere are revealing this.

Here are two tips that have helped me recently (learned from The Carey Nieuwhof Podcast): 

First, I turn my phone off (completely off) for a full hour every day. And I have my phone off for an entire day every week. Fridays. You think I’m crazy. You think you can’t do it. You think it won’t bless you. Try it. 

Second, I delete my Instagram app every time I’m done with it – so that when I want to get back on, I have to re-download it. It keeps me from the mindless thumb-scrolling.

#2 Capitalist Discontentment

A reason why we’re experiencing total system failure is because you have about, hmm, 1,000 companies every day trying to make you feel discontent. Did you know that?! The way our economy works is this: Tech companies, fashion companies, whatever, want you to feel bad about what you have so that you buy their stuff, and they make money.

I walked through the mall last week and just felt awful. “Wow, I don’t have that new jacket. I need it! Wow, I don’t have that new gadget. I need it!” 

I walked in feeling purty good about life but left feeling like a loser.

#3 inner self worship 

We live in a society that worships our inner self – and it’s killing us. “Be you . . . and don’t listen to anyone else” is the battle cry. All authority structure is wrong. All authority structures are oppressing you. Parents. Teachers. Pastors. You name it. Wrong.

The only person who isn’t wrong is you. So listen to yourself. Your inner self. So goes the mentality . . . yikes – system failure!

Problem? Uh, yeah – at the end of the day, we’re all complete morons. I mean that. Let’s just admit it. Like, I’m a total idiot. Left to my inner self, I’d commit to nobody and nothing. On a whim I’d leave my wife, abandon my kids, not show up to my job.

People who worship their inner selves aren’t happy at all. Just look around. Sure, they’re getting short-term pleasure fix after pleasure fix. But the system is crashing. 

It’s all about me, me, me. That leads to me-sery (get it, misery?). Never mind.

Where Jesus shows up

So, what do we do? How can Jesus transform us?

He says, as you know, “I am the way and the truth and the life (John 14:6).” Jesus is promising what our culture is promising – a full, abundant, satisfying life. A life of joy, a life of flourishing. But only one path holds true. 

Our world says, “Hey, you want a flourishing life? Be true to you. Fill yourself up. Center on yourself.” It’s a lie. We’re doing just that and we’ve never seen higher rates of depression, loneliness, and anxiety.

That’s because we humans are not meant to focus on ourselves. That is a system failure.

But Jesus says the exact opposite. “Hey, joy and abundant life is found not by filling up yourself but by emptying yourself to fill up other people.” This is what “dying to self” means. 

For those who lack joy

Here’s what it means for us. 

If you are lacking joy right now, like, if you’re not satisfied and in a dark spot, start emptying yourself out for those around you. Re-read that sentence.

Work to bring joy to others by becoming a servant and, boom, your joy will fill up. Another way to say this, although it’s kinda older language, is to glorify others – to make much of others – to make those around you the big deal in the room, not yourself.

Tim Keller has something to say about that: “To glorify someone is also to serve or defer to him or her. Instead of sacrificing their interests to make yourself happy, you sacrifice your interests to make them happy. Why? Your ultimate joy is to see them in joy.”

Your ultimate joy is to see them in joy.

So, to wrap this all up, we live in a society right now that is trying to enslave us with this lie: “You are happiest when you serve yourself most.” 

But that system is crashing as we speak. The life Jesus offers us is actually life, even though it’s not what we’d expect. He says, “You are happiest – like, your life is the most abundant it can be – when you serve others most. Yes, your joy increases when you increase their joy.”

Let this become our daily pursuit, and so let the shadows pass.

Copyright © 2020 by  Just Talbert @ https://getgroundedministries.com. Used with permission. No part of this article may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from Lifeword.org