We live in a “Me first” generation. The television advertisements boast of the “You deserve” mentality. From cars to spas. The focus of our society is to make sure that you take care of yourself first. Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong of caring for yourself and taking time to re-energize your batteries. Jesus Himself would often go into the desert by himself to pray and re-energize himself. He even said when pushed to identify the great commandments identified the second greatest commandment as loving others as you love yourself. I am not talking about caring for yourself, but recognizing that there is a greater power in life than ourselves. Jesus said that the greatest commandment we need to follow is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” (Luke 10:27) It involves the priority of putting Him first and then loving others as you love yourself.
Those of you who come from the older generation like myself will probably remember the old saying, “Keep them humble”. We grew up with little or no affirmation from our fathers because they thought that if you affirm your children they would become prideful. They went too far and caused a lot of people with poor self value issues. Unfortunately we have gone in the opposite direction and created a generation of entitlement.
There was a king named Belshazzar in the book of Daniel who exemplified this me first mentality. He had no concept of giving honor to the God of the universe and lived his life as such. Daniel is given the responsibility to speak into Belshazzar’s life when he said, “But you, Belshazzar, his son, have not humbled yourself, though you knew all this. Instead, you have set yourself up against the Lord of heaven. You had the goblets from his temple brought to you, and you and your nobles, your wives and your concubines drank wine from them. You praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or understand. But you did not honor the God who holds in his hand your life and all your ways. (Daniel 5:22, 23 NIV)
I see in this passage a set of priorities that God intends for us to set in our own personal life. It starts out with putting God as the numero Uno in our life. The top Dog. The Master. The beginning and the end. The Lord. Only then can we begin to operate in a humble state because we recognize that all that we have and all that we are comes from the Creator of all life. What is sobering about this passage is that Daniel confronted Belshazzar and said that even though Belshazzar knew all of this, he was not living it out in his daily life.
The question that all of us have to answer each day is whether or not our lives, our actions, and our attitudes exemplify God being given honor in and through us. This journey for us is a journey of humbleness and recognition for the One who deserves our allegiance.