From self-absorbed to self-sacrificing

What does it take to save a galaxy? You might think of mighty heroes with outrageous powers, or genius warriors with superior weapons. But chances are you wouldn’t think about a group of selfish miscreants made up of an orphan, a murderer, a raccoon, and a talking tree. Yet that’s exactly what Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy gives us. A ragtag group filled with flaws responsible for stopping a wickedly powerful enemy.

Now, like every movie in our At the Movies series, Guardians has a message that echoes the Bible. We see in the New Testament another group of ragtag misfits brought together by Jesus. We call them the Disciples, and they were very much like the Guardians. A mix of people from different backgrounds, brought together for a purpose greater than themselves. And like the Guardians, we see the disciples take a very specific journey.

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Guarding the Interests of Others

Under pressure, half-selfish always defaults to selfish. Instead of being half-selfish, guard the interests of others. Do as the Bible instructs and put other’s interests before your own. Serve people selflessly and lovingly. Find inspiration from the Apostle Paul in Philippians 2:3-11.

To become selfless, seek God’s help and tap into the power of the Holy Spirit. Walk the path of “dying to self.”

Half-Selfish

“Half-selfish” is when we’re all about getting what we want and fulfilling our own selfish desires, but we need someone else’s help to make things happen. It’s selfishness wrapped up in a pretty package to make it appear as though it’s something else. We might want to be about others, but we’re still all about ourselves. Jesus’ disciples understood this tension all too well.

 

We Can’t See Our Own Selfishness

The Bible teaches us in Matthew 20:28 that “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” We admire that kind of selflessness in Jesus and the people around us. We just don’t want to live that way ourselves! The truth is we want others to live selflessly so we can continue to live selfishly.

Often, we can’t even see our own selfishness because we’re so blinded by the wounds inflicted upon us by someone else’s selfishness.

 

How Do We Pursue a Calling and Marriage Simultaneously?

Before Christians should get married, they should talk all about their respective callings. Our callings are primary before marriage, but once we are married, our marriage becomes primary. If two people with strong callings don’t discuss their callings before getting married, there will be challenges. Figuring out how two callings work together requires compromise, prayer, and a commitment to one another above everything else.

How Should Christians Build Relationships With Non-Believers?

Being in the world, but not of it, does not mean that we as Christ followers should isolate ourselves from people who don’t share our beliefs. Jesus spent an enormous amount of time relating to non-Jews, much to the consternation of the religious leaders of his time.

Engaging with non-believers can give us opportunities to demonstrate with our actions and our lifestyles how following Christ can make a difference in how one does life. This does not mean, however, that we engage in activities that are not Christ-honoring in order to reach out to the lost, rather, we invite them into our world and into our lives and into our church and make them a part of who we are.

The church should be a place of insulation and refuge for the lost, not a place of isolation and refuge from the lost.

How Should We Share Our Faith Without Being Preachy?

The desire to share Christ with unchurched friends can be outweighed by a fear of coming across as being too pushy or preachy. It is said that actions speak louder than words, so the life we live and the love we share can be the most effective means of opening the door to conversation.

When our relationship with Christ is evident in how we relate to others, how we date, how we handle money and disappointment, and how we do our work, others will want to know what makes us different. As we answer their questions and share the difference Christ has made in our lives, the next natural step is to invite them into a relationship with Christ as well.

Why Is There a Generational Shift in Authority and Opinion?

Young people have constant access to their friends and acquaintances through smart phones and social media. This leads to less interaction with adults.

Then, when it’s time to make a decision, there are multiple voices competing for attention, and each begins to have equal weight – regardless of whether the advice is helpful and wise.

Embrace the positive aspects of constant communication with friends, but take time to learn from generations who’ve gone before you. They have a wealth of wisdom and experience to share.

Should We Submit to Poor Leadership and Authority?

The Bible gives us many examples of people who had to follow unstable leaders (e.g. David, Joseph, and Daniel).

Because people are imperfect, you’ll always follow imperfect leaders. Focusing on the value they do add to your life is key.

Remember, your relationship with authority tends to say more about you than it does about your leader.

How Do We Practice Emotional Restraint When Dating?

Miles says it’s important to limit how fast the emotional intimacy grows in a dating relationship. Many couples play “pretend marriage” in their dating relationship, but dating should be special. Miles suggested seeing each other a couple times a week, texting a couple times a week, and leaving things at that. Miles advises not to think too far ahead when dating, which creates a “fake” intimacy where commitment doesn’t match up.

We often used the word “love” too quickly; marriage is the ultimate expression of love and because love is more than merely an emotional commitment, using the word love in a relationship should mean that a commitment of marriage is eminent.