This is a recap of the latest sermon in our series, Get (Outta) Your Own Way
Self-pity is a reigning attitude in our day and age. It’s easy to slip into but is it how God wants us to live? What we must see is how the gospel doesn’t make room for self-pity but calls us to rejoice in Christ.
1. Why Self-Pity is a Problem
Self-pity exposes our self-centeredness, makes us angry and play the victim, refuses to show gratitude, and leads to self-worship. Worst of all, it’s outright rebellion against God. Paul warns the church of being like the Israelites in wilderness, feeling sorry for themselves, incurring God’s anger. Even if the outworking of self-pity isn’t directed toward God, he still takes it as a personal offense.
2. What the Gospel Says to Self-Pity
To get out of self-pity, we need is a shift of perspective to the cross. The gospel says Jesus was my substitute and he suffered what I should’ve received. If I don’t deserve good things but get them anyway instead of the bad things that should come my way, my whole life is a gift from God. The cross confronts our temptation to self-pity and forces us to ask if we’re right to pity ourselves. When you consider all the people who have greater right to self-pity but lived in faithfulness, they are all marked by a joy in the Messiah that kept them away from feeling sorry for themselves.
3. How Joy Transforms Us
When we move from self-pity to Christ-centered joy, we first being to shine as stars in the sky. We serve as a witness to world steeped in self-pity, making known the unspeakable joy of Christ. It is inconsistent to proclaim Christ as Savior and wallow in your own misery. Joy also makes us sacrificial worshipers. We will be willing to step out of ourselves to serve and love others in honor of our God who did the same for us. We can celebrate the joys of others, even if it comes at our own expense.
Reflection and Application
How are you often tempted to self-pity? What type of situations force that emotion to arise? How does it affect you?
Have you seen self-pity affect your understanding of God? How has self-pity been debilitating to your life?
Why does looking at the cross change our perspectives on our own lives? How does the gospel challenge us to stop feeling sorry for ourselves?
Are there ways in which more Christ-centered joy could actually change your life? Places where you would begin to thrive rather than cave in?
What does it look like to shine like a star in the sky for Christ through your emotional health? Why is joy so integral to our Christian witness?