Selfie or Selfless?

A recent survey with British people ages 18-24 revealed that “selfies” are their most popular genre of photography. The result of the survey is supported by evidence from Instagram:

  • Of the top 10 tags, 2 explicitly have to do with taking selfies.
  • The third most popular (#me) is devoted entirely to self-shots, yielding over 67 million self-portraits.
  • The 5th most popular tag, #photooftheday, mostly contains selfies and over 56 million photos.
  • #selfie is the 27th most popular tag, with over 27 million photos.

walt disney selfieThere is just an absurd amount of self-pictures on Instagram! John Paul Tilrow at the web technology blog [ReadWrite] says that Instagram is “a breeding ground for many people’s most narcissistic tendencies.”

It seems to me that repeatedly taking pictures of yourself is the most visible and popular expression of a self-centered, self-interested, self-absorbed and self-aggrandizing society.

This “selfie epidemic” has made me wonder what God would think about it and if an ancient book like the Bible has anything to say about this contemporary phenomenon.

I believe Philippians 2 does address this issue. These verses are the antidote to the “selfie epidemic”. It promotes an other-centered, rather than a self-centered approach to life. Verses 3,4 encourages us to adopt three attitudes that will help us to live “beyond the self(ie)”:

·         Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit – We are not to be motivated by the desire to see our name spotlighted or to gain the “empty glory” this world has to offer.

·         In humility consider others better than yourselves – We are to act as if others are “held above” ourselves.

·         Look not only to our own interests, but also to the interests of others – This simply means prioritizing the needs of others over my own.

What amazes me is that Jesus Christ, the only one who had every right to promote himself, chose to consider others better than Himself, identifying Himself with “losers”, laying down His life for you and me. Our attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus if we are to become a “selfless-generation” rather than a “self(ie) generation”!

Author: Pastor Urian Rios