I am talking to a variety of people some Christian, some nonreligious but I think possibly I can speak something positive to both. I know a few things about the Bible anyone who is familiar with that book will be able to see in my writings and am intimately tied to Christianity whether Christians like it or not and whether or not I am one or not. Perhaps indeed someday Jesus will say depart from me for I never knew you. I am unsure on all those counts. And there is too the concern that where the Spirit is not how can anyone profit spiritually. I am only too aware of all these considerations.
I must proceed from where I am. I have recently been given to think about the self-sacrificial quality of Christ and whether or not people pleasing should be our response to that example. The self-denying life I am referencing is that supposed nobility which says I have to be constantly trying to save my self-image by doing what pleases others. I am not attacking being a servant like Christ in all love and affection of brotherhood. I am saying that we tend to think we need to care about what other people think and I am not sure that is right. Yes, we should care about how they think about our example. If one is truly Christian one will naturally reflect Christ according to the Bible and will have one’s basis in him. If one is irreligious then you should probably take a harmonizing approach between martyr and absolute psychopath. We should not try to base ourselves on what others thoughts are because we can never control other’s thoughts nor can we always avoid criticism.
I think there is a difference between being an example of Christianity and being an example of one’s self-image which is linked to selfishness in the end. I am trying to break loose from my needs of self and yet be a good example in regard to my family and friends. As the Bible says think soberly. How is your identity as a do-gooder tied to being your real self? The heart is desperately wicked but we need to express ourselves with the law of conscience and the word guarding our expressions in all authenticity of self and in all congruence with who we really are as long as that does not violate those examples set for us by the laws of God.
In concluding, I wish to say that Christianity in it’s purest form is all about service but there is a point at which service becomes selfishness and that has nothing to do with God. There is kind of a fine dividing line. Are we pleasing others or are we pleasing God? We need to evaluate ourselves and reflect on the example of the Bible. I would even recommend this for the nonreligious. Try the Bible out. Mull it over. If you know a Christian ask for their help. Don’t fear the truth. Seek it out. It cannot hurt you. It may just be what your looking for.