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Focus and Love

Our culture has bestowed on us an axiom - focus on one another and love oneself. This is revealed in the rise of the selfie, the self-aggrandizing of our own vanity, the self-love Paul speaks of as a mark of the last days (2 Tim 3). It is also what is behind the focus we have on one another, our tendency to gossip about, judge and categorize one another, to check out each others' clothes, style, taste and achievements.

It was the same problem in the early church. Paul writes to Timothy to encourage him to deal with the problem:
I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.
When people follow the alternative axiom, Paul writes, worship gets messed up. Men focus on one another and are angry, jealous of one another, vying to be number one. Women will compare themselves to one another, constantly attempting to outdo their neighbor. We are all too good at loving ourselves and focusing on one another. The cure for believers, Paul suggests, is prayer and good works. Praying for one another removes envy and good works removes self-love.

However, the root of the problem comes down to whom we worship. Human beings are worshiping beings, they cannot avoid this. And our culture is good at offering idols in photoshopped ideals and exhortations to believe that we deserve happiness. But Christians should counter the culture, focusing on Christ and loving one another. Christ is our focus, to whom we look for all things, and people are whom we should love, especially our brothers and sisters in Christ.