Incurvatus in se

 

The social media giants recently launched another campaign to get people to post pictures of themselves, this time with the #10yearchallenge.

At the time of this writing, over 1,6 million posts have already been uploaded. People posting photos of themselves from ten years ago 2009, and now 2019.

Of course this has had massive appeal to the selfie crazed culture that pervades our society.

 

In 2013, the Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year was “selfie”.

 

It is just 11 years since Apple launched their smartphone and the tidal wave of photo-generated “selfies” by their millions are uploaded to the many social media platforms every day. In fact, in 2016, 93 million selfies were uploaded every day onto social media platforms!

 

Definition of selfie = “A pic of me doing something that I want to do.”

And every selfie I take has the same theme: Me – enjoying, reviling, relishing through the pleasures and sense of life with everything else in the background.

 

In Latin there is a saying:- Incurvatus in se, which means, Curved into oneself.

 

This world is curved into itself and pulls us all into the pervading culture of self obsession.

 

I love technology and try use it to my advantage, but I have become increasingly aware of how my many devices have become vices, curving me into myself. As Christ followers we are having to fight a continuous battle against the pervading culture of the day.

 

In Acts 2:40, it records these words, “Peter preached to them and warned them with these words: “Be rescued from the wayward and perverse culture of this world!” (TPT)

 

We are in desperate need of being rescued from the inward focus that we are being forced into.

 

Dr Luke, the writer of Acts gives a summary of what this early church community looked like in the face of a perverse culture. Instead of giving us what the pervading culture looked like, he gives, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, how the early church was seen by the world around them.

 

Acts 2:42-47

Every believer was faithfully devoted to following the teachings of the apostles. Their hearts were mutually linked to one another, sharing communion and coming together regularly for prayer. 43 A deep sense of holy awe swept over everyone, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. 44 All the believers were in fellowship as one body, and they shared with one another whatever they had. 45 Out of generosity they even sold their assets to distribute the proceeds to those who were in need among them. 46 Daily they met together in the temple courts and in one another’s homes to celebrate communion. They shared meals together with joyful hearts and tender humility. 47 They were continually filled with praises to God, enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord kept adding to their number daily those who were coming to life. (TPT)

 

From the warnings of the Apostles these early believers created healthy life giving cultures where there was sharing, caring, miracles happening, beautiful communion meals being shared with grateful and thankful hearts.

 

What was it that made the early church stand out from their background? What curved the early Christians outward?

 

I wonder if the words hidden in this passage are not a clue for us today?

“Out of generosity they . . . “Acts 2:45 (TPT)

 

Giving up is the way to Rising up.

 

The gospel of Jesus is about a God who loved so much that He gave! Jesus gave up all to give all so that all who believe my have all of God and life forever! The very core of the gospel is a giving God, a generous God who gave. I believe the gospel creates a generous community, a church that is different to the culture of this world, a standout people, curved outwards!

If in the early church their number one distinction was exceeding generosity, then I believe that it is possible again today.

 

In the onslaught of a self-absorbed culture that is curved in on itself, it is time for the church of Jesus Christ, the community of God on earth, to stand out and be a people that at their very heart is generous, looking outward, focussed on others, bringing God to everyone everywhere.

 

Craig Clark

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