Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Case of Ingrown Eyeballs

     Chuck Swindoll once said that self pity is a "severe case of ingrown eyeballs". Every one of us has had a case of ingrown eyeballs, when our eyes were only on ourselves and our lot in life, when we have indulged in self pity. Self pity is not a pleasant thing. It will alienate you from friends and family and will cause you to become bitter and withdrawn.
     We know that self pity is not from God. God wants our eyes to be fixed on Him. Satan wants our eyes to be fixed on ANYTHING but God. So he comes to us and whispers in our ears. He tells us things like how under appreciated we are, how nobody recognizes what we do. He tells us how we deserve so much more than what we have and how our lot in life is so much harder than everyone else's.
     Self pity will cause you to have a critical spirit and a greedy spirit. It will cause you to doubt the sincerity of others and will cause you not to trust anyone. Self pity is a lonely state to be in. It will cause you to be suspicious of everyone around you and it will make you angry at everything. Having a pity party for yourself is not a good party to be having and if you find yourself slipping into that frame of mind, leave it quickly. Refocus your eyes on God and doing something for others immediately. Do anything you can to get your eyes off yourself because when we are focusing on ourselves we are in danger of falling into a pit that is hard to get out of.
     There are several examples in the Bible of great men of God who fell into self pity. One is Elijah. You remember Elijah, don't you? He's the great prophet who took on and defeated the four hundred prophets of Baal in the book of I Kings. He was victorious in showing all those around him that God is the only true God. When the four hundred false prophets couldn't get their god, Baal, to burn up the sacrifice, it was Elijah's turn to show God's power to the heathens. God told Elijah to pour water on the altar until it made a pool around it. When Elijah finished all that God told him to do, God showed up in a big way! Not only was the sacrifice consumed with fire from heaven but the water was completely vaporized! Elijah killed all the prophets of Baal, as God had instructed him to and there was great victory that day.
     Well, immediately after that Jezebel, Ahab's wife, sent out a message that within twenty four hours Elijah would be killed. She was mad! Elijah had just finished off four hundred prophets who were loyal to her. He had just seen God's power in action but somehow this woman seemed to be an insurmountable obstacle in his way; a thorn in his flesh. So what did he do? He ran away and sat under a broom tree and sulked! (ch.19 1 Kings) He was overcome with self pity. He tells God that he's had enough! He's through, in fact, just take my life, God.
     Have you ever been there? Let me tell you there is a solution. While he was sitting there feeling sorry for himself  "an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” When he looked, he saw near his head some bread baked on hot stones and a jar of water. So he ate, drank, and went to sleep again." (v.5-6) He had time to rest and spend time alone with the Lord. When we do the same we will feel refreshed. We will have time to refocus our priorities and get our eyes off ourselves. When Elijah's time of refreshment was completed God told him to get busy; to get back to what he was meant to do. In verse 18 God tells Elijah that there were still seven thousand people in Israel who had not bowed to Baal and they needed Elijah to minister to them.
     Sometimes we can get a case of ingrown eyeballs and focus on ourselves and sometimes Satan will cause us to focus on the tiniest thing that isn't going right instead of all that is, in our life. At times like these we need to get ourselves away to refocus on the Lord; to get our eyes of ourselves and onto Him. Sometimes we just need rest because we have allowed our lives to become so cluttered that we are exhausted. But the most important thing that we can do is to spend time alone with the Lord. Jesus, Himself, set the example for us. Time and again, after He had ministered to crowds of people, He took Himself away to pray and get refreshed by God the Father.
     If you have fallen into the pit of self pity and you have a case of 'ingrown eyeballs', it's time to crawl out of that pit. It's time to focus your eyes outward and upward. The results of not being self focused will be a peaceful and thankful spirit and a more generous spirit that is pleasing to be around. You will find yourself enjoying your life and the blessings you have been given, like never before.
    God bless!

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