I think self-fulfillment is a suspect concept to Christians. I, me, and self, are the antithesis of Christ, indeed they are anti-Christ. I think that is true, but it is a perspective issue. What are those perspectives or better approaches of self that move us from the spirit of anti-Christ to the Spirit of Christ.
Last evening I was speaking to a young wife and mom who is about to finish her Bachelor’s Degree. We were discussing video and video production. She told me that she liked it and had taken some classes early in her college career. She even contemplated video production as her potential major but declined because she thought it might be impractical (one has to be able to use it to make money.). She determined she would use this as a hobby instead. Hobby! Hobby is suspect also. It is inclined toward self, moving back toward anti-Christ.
But is this bad? It depends! It is determined by which spirit is operative: Christ or anti-Christ. The Spirit of Christ is others centered and the spirit of anti-Christ is oriented toward self (The Devil wasn’t booted from Heaven for murder but for a destructive commitment to “self”.). A hobby and self-fulfillment are inclined toward self but are these bad by themselves? The question that helps us answer this is “Why?” It isn’t so much what you do but why you do it.
We have a family, get a degree, get a trade and develop a skills to make a life for ourselves. Is it so we can have comfort, security, and pleasure? Probably! This is a problem if it is only for these benefits. This shows we are no different than the world.
Most of us think compartmentally. We do things for ourselves and sometimes for others. We have a family and career for us and give to others on occasion. Is this different from those who are under condemnation?
What changes all of this is why we do what we do. Let’s talk more about the young lady I spoke of earlier. She wanted to do video production work because it was fun but what if she used it to help, educate, bring understanding to the church and the lost? Would she still have enjoyment from it? Of course she would but now it would be used for the betterment of the culture and the church.
My kids snowboarded. It thought this was great but when they used it simply for enjoyment and having fun with their friends, I had a problem. Why didn’t they take along others outside their clic? They could have taken a kid from their neighborhood who never may have had a chance to go? Why not bring someone new from the church or on the fringe?
Since becoming a follower of Christ, I have had many interesting and fulfilling ventures, but these were as a result of my pursuit of the lost and development of the church. This ambition is the same as Christ. Our ambition is to mature the Church and reach the lost.
When what we do is generated from self to gain for self, it is simply anti-Christ. This is what distinguishes the children of the Devil from the children of God.
1 John 3:10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother. NIV
What is right? Is it right to use talents and gifts for ourselves while souls perish around us? Is it right to eat a meal in front of the starving? Is it love to horde the fruits of our labor at the expense of souls?
It is right to gain skills and assets. However we must use them for the advancement of Christ and rescuing souls from the coming destruction. Love is why we do what we do! If our life in carried out in love and righteousness we will enjoy that which we’ve gained and simultaneously lift the down trodden out of their abyss.
When I began to follow Christ I was a rock climber. I thought to be a true Christian I needed to abandon all for Christ (I wasn’t far off). I put aside rock climbing but in retrospect, I think this was a mistake. I thought it was a conflict of interest; mine verse that of Christ’s. As a neophyte, I should have been counseled and helped. I should have used rock climbing as a ministry. I was working with Youth for Christ at the time as a volunteer and rock climbing would have fit well for serving Junior High kids we were working with. Of course, I would have had fun! That isn’t the point. I would have been using what I knew and what I liked, for the betterment of others.
We must use whatever we have for the cause of Christ. If you are into video, climbing, golfing, cooking, fabricating, the arts or whatever: Use them for Christ….this is the Spirit of Christ!
Col 3:17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. NIV