Self-Exaltation: Living for Our Own “Applause”

22 Aug

I’ve recently heard the latest Lady Gaga song out on iTunes entitled, “Applause.”  And beyond the fact that I find the beat somewhat catchy, is has a very revealing message. The chorus is as follows:

I live for the applause, applause, applause
I live for the applause-plause
Live for the applause-plause
Live for the way that you cheer and scream for me
The applause, applause, applause

In the context of the song, Lady Gaga is referring to the life of fame and the adoration of her many fans.  She is driven by the desire to hear the clapping of hands, the screaming voices of her “little monsters” and the rush it all brings.  And though this message focuses on Lady Gaga and the music industry (with its fame and fortune), it is a message that can be more broadly applied to all of us.

It can be applied to all of us because we tend to live for the exaltation of the self.  It has long been said that we can see this in Western culture’s materialistic drive, but I think it is more clearly–and powerfully–present in another place: our pursuit of personal pleasure.  As my wife sometimes jokingly says, “I do what I want!”  Whatever pleases us most, we do.

The problem is that our self-exaltation all too often puts us at odds with the God of the universe.    It puts us at odds with Him because when we are forced to make a decision between going our own way, or obeying the revealed will of God in Scripture, we will choose that which pleases us the most.  If God’s revealed will in Scripture tells us one thing, but our experience and desire is for another, we subjugate God’s will to our own desire and this is sin.

The alternative is to live for the exaltation of God and His glory.  Rather than subjugating Him and His will to our desires, we will submit ourselves to Him.  Interestingly enough, as we humble ourselves and submit our desires to His will, we will find the Spirit at work in us, making Him and His will our desire.  As the psalmist writes in Psalm 37, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”  Well, if we are delighting in Him, then our desires will more than likely revolve around Him and His will.  Its an amazing thing that God would work in us in this way.

Thus, my pray is that we would live with a God-centered view of life, not one in which “we live for the self, the self.”

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