Cory Monteith, of the TV hit show Glee, fell into the “cultural trap.” So did Lance Armstrong, as do so many professional athletes and celebrities whose lives, careers and reputations are cut-short or destroyed by drugs, alcohol or other addictions. But famous people are not the only ones susceptible. So are you and me.
What is the “cultural trap?” It’s the notion society promotes to “feed your ego, not your soul.” If we make more money, have more friends, have the trophy wife, have more toys, vacations, time-shares, trinkets, and things, then we will have it all. We can easily get caught comparing ourselves to others which baits the trap of doing things that feed our ego and esteem. And, often drugs and alcohol push us over the edge.
Why would a rising star who appears to have it all wind up on the floor of a hotel room dead due to overdose? Why would a superstar athlete cheat? They were trapped and didn’t know how to get out. Then, they chose to flirt with drugs and alcohol which turns ugly -- fast.
How to Avoid the Cultural Trap
We can avoid the trap. If you’re caught in it now, there’s a fool-proof escape plan available. It’s not necessarily popular. It won’t get the headlines. But, it is a complete paradigm shift that will boost your identity and ego in a healthy way while giving you a no-nonsense strategy to living your life.
Now lean in and read this closely...Here’s the secret to avoiding the cultural trap...Feed your soul, not your ego.
How do you feed your soul? Love others.
How do you love others? Love your self.
How do you love your self? Love God.
How do you love God? With all your heart, soul and your mind.
Jesus gives us the plan in Matthew 22:37-39. When asked about the greatest commandment, Jesus lays out, what I believe, is the antidote to the cultural trap.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ “
Loving God with all our heart, soul and mind, is the model for how we need to love ourselves, and others. If we start with loving God, then learn how to love ourselves -- with our heart, soul and mind -- then we will know how to love others. The result? We won’t need to feed our ego because we’re focused on loving God, ourselves and others.
The irony is, when we love God, ourselves and others, our identity gets a boost. God calls us “friend.” He calls us His “children.” He calls us “heirs.” When you think about these identities, the need to feed our ego vanishes like a vapor in the wind.
So, the next logical question to ask is, “how do we love God with all our heart, soul and mind?” Let me tackle that in the second part.
In the meantime, are you caught in the cultural trap? It’s 9-1-1 material, but instead of calling 9-1-1, call on Jesus. Learn how to love him and you will escape the trap.
Check out Every Man Ministries material on how to deal with Temptation
In case you missed them:
Kenny Luck, founder and president of Every Man Ministries, is the men’s pastor at Saddleback Church, and has a great deal of experience in leading men through their walk with God. His program Sleeping Giant empowers men to take the experience of a men’s ministry and bring it to their own communities. Watch Kenny’s teachings at EveryManMinistries.com.