"Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, sexual perversion, uncleanness, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions..." (Ga5:19-20)
Thing is, the Bible teaches the Biblical Christian how to live in the world that, by definition these days, is political. When the Bible gives prophecy, much of what it prophesies is political. It tells of the rise and fall of kingdoms; of the antichrist and how he will manipulate all aspects of humanity. By definition, such activities are defined and motivated by politics; the politics of the leaders who move the world in the direction things take; the politics of them getting themselves into office and other positions of power and influence; and often whether or not they acknowledge the Most High, and how this plays in to their dealings.
The day this is being drafted, the American financial crisis is officially in 'wait' mode, waiting for the manipulations in a couple of days of legislation in preparation for another congressional vote for a so-called "bail-out" scheme. It is also election season, so what is financial is also political in terms of candidates expressing why their plan would be better than their opponent's... therefore: Vote for me!
The news will often include 'human interest' stories related to the financial crisis. They will show videos of some selected representative of an alleged "average citizen" who is suffering "hardships" because of the national (world) crisis. Show them with a handful of items in their shopping cart: This is all I can afford to buy right now; and I am having to forego other 'luxuries'.
Thing is, I'm still seeing the huge gas-guzzling SUVs zooming past, as though pedal-to-the-metal, jack-rabbit-ting away from the nearby intersection (as the light turns green)... not even attempting to 'conserve' fuel. I haven't noticed any espresso stands going "out-of-business" either...that other -staple- 'necessity' of life!
And there was one story: Various people being interviewed as to how they would define 'necessities' vs 'luxuries'. One was asked something on the order of: What can you not do without? If you are strapped for cash, what is one necessity that is worth scrimping and sacrificing for? (or words to that effect)
Answer: SPA TREATMENT
Answer: It's real important for me to "feel good about myself" And being pampered at a spa does that.
Life's 'necessities': Steam room, massage, manicure/pedicure, get the hair done, makeup. Have nice (sexy) clothes to wear. After all, if I know I -look- good, I -feel- good.
This fits the same mentality of that other item that was reported shortly after 9/11, when the president exhorted the American people, not to get on their knees before God and repent, but rather: Continue living your lives as you have been doing. Don't change anything about your lives. Keep buying and selling. Keep conducting business as usual.
And so, this one woman was featured, who had just purchased a huge flat panel plasma screen TV. When asked 'why' she had done so, such an 'extravagant' purchase when her life otherwise was more 'simple'; she was "helping" the war effort by helping the economy. She said, "I'm just doing MY PART."
These people DO NOT UNDERSTAND hardship; nor even less, humility. They have not lived through the Great Depression, or been children of parents who did. Or the war years. They have not stood in bread lines at the soup kitchens. They have not had to run outside to use the outhouse, pump their water by hand, put the water in the kitchen stove's water tank to heat it, and when wanting to wash, dipping the water from the stove. They have not had to stuff rags inside their tires to protect the tubes from puncture, because the tires were worn bare and had holes, and/or wrapped tape around them to hold them together. They have not worn hand-me-down clothes with rips and patches in them. And this list could go on-and-on.
Historically, some of these things just mentioned, in their own time, were not "hardships"... it was normal "life". But imagine today's spoiled and selfish humanity if they had to revert back to those times!
They are gods and goddesses! Like the Pantene (or L'Oreal?) commercial a few years ago where the model used to sensuously purr: I'm worth it!
The spa treatment, and all that it entails: it's all about sex and sensuality. If not engaging in it, at least having that feeling of desirability.
They have not experienced, as God enumerated to Israel the judgments they could expect if they disobey, here is one aspect He foretells:
How close are we to anything like that? We've still got it pretty good, haven't we! The grocery store shelves are stocked, for the most part the gas stations still have gas. And yes...the beauty spas are still open for business; and cars are lined up at the espresso stands.
But what does this woman's answer say about our overall societal mentality? I was just reminded the other day from seeing the fellows doing some work on the building where my sign shop is located (it's been many years since I worked around those types, had almost forgotten about it), when a couple of females walked by, all the banter amongst themselves. But then, the mentality that craves the spa treatments does so to allure the attention of those men who notice and make a deal about it.
Perhaps a bit of a different context, but it fits...
Sin is all about I, me, my, mine, myself. Righteousness is about Jesus who died on the cross (T), and about the Believer "taking up the cross" to follow Jesus Christ.
The main reason there is a financial crisis is because of sin. "I". I want...NOW. Don't make me wait until I've worked diligently to save up. Give it to me now. Gimme gimme gimme that thing! Satisfy -me-. Make -me- 'feel' good. Make me -look- "hot" and sensuously delicious, so that I can imagine the orgasmic pleasures of those admiring "ALL -THIS-" (hands pointing from head-to-toe).
But the Godly one "esteems the others as surpassing himself" (Php2:3), not looking out for #1, "but also for the interests of others" (vs4); and they have the mind of Christ who took on the "form of a bondservant" (vs7) and also gave His life to save sinful humanity.
Some years ago there was a popular song: All you need is love; love is all you need. And while they engaged in (so-called) "free love", their love was not for their fellow-man, but for the pleasures they derived for themselves. They have no concept of...
I wish I knew how to come up with accurate statistics, but the question comes to my mind: How many of these "feel good about myself" people also have long-term stable and happy marriages? As a people watcher, I have noticed that, the more spa-driven they are, the shorter are their marriages. The more they "feel good about myself", the more rude they are to other people. If they do happen to participate in some "charity" event, their exit sentiment, as they primp for the TV camera, is that they "feel good about myself" for having done it. No thoughts about the poor unfortunates for whom the event was (allegedly) held. These are the ones, also, who appear on Oprah, expressing how their having "stepped into their own esteem" gave them the 'courage' to leave their 'bum' of a husband, to the ranting raving "you go girl!" of Oprah and her audience.
You know, the queen, Oprah....whenever any camera focuses in on her face, I -NEVER- see any sort of Joy or Happiness in her soul. And the behind-the-scenes rumors are that she is an absolute 'tyrant' towards associates and staff.
But this 'selfishness' of which we speak: there are countless passages of lists where it is included, and the Bible says...
"And if you say in your heart, Why have these things come upon me? It is because of the greatness of your iniquity; your skirts have been uncovered, and your heels have suffered violence." (Jer13:22)