Fort Future: In Christ. Bearing Fruit. Impacting Generations
Rectangle Copy 19Created with Sketch.


Devotional – Freedom from the Oppression of Self

Freedom from the Oppression of Self

by Josh Tuckness

As a young man in high school, it wasn’t uncommon to hear my mother’s voice reciting a well-known mantra in the Tuckness household— “It’s not about you.” It wasn’t about her either and she wasn’t trying to make “it” about her. Sometimes I just needed a reminder that of all the things I was most concerned about, they tended to center around one thing: me.  

It is funny how after going to Bible school, working in church, and being involved with ministry you meet a lot of wise people. Somehow the old homegrown wisdom from mom still reaches the top of the charts. It’s not about me. For all the great love that Jesus has for me; for all the depth of compassion he has shown me, I think he would agree.  

If you read the first 12 verses of Matthew 5, you will hear Jesus’ radical confrontation with the doctrine of a world bent inward on itself. Among all those who are blessed, Jesus counts the meek. Those who are humble. The late Timothy Keller had called the virtue of humility the freedom of self-forgetfulness because it is not about putting yourself down. It’s not about a self-critical and dishonest assessment of yourself. Humility is not about thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less. It allows your concern to be directed at someone else’s needs.  

I believe the disciples of Jesus eventually got there. However, we read in Matthew 18 that they were concerned about how to make themselves great. Jesus answers them that to be great they must humble themselves. Later in Matthew 20:25-28 the disciples are looking for promotion to a place of power. Jesus instructs them that his way is different than what they have known. He marks servanthood, putting another’s needs before your own, as the defining factor of greatness in his kingdom. Paul reminds us that Jesus is our ultimate example of this in Philippians 2:3-11. 

We all have a role to play this upcoming summer. It is easy to see all the work we put in and to elevate our needs over one another. It is easy to elevate our site above the others. God is bringing us campers to serve. It is easy enough to slap a smile on and provide a service, but what about those who are not in our job description to serve? What about one another? Do we serve someone because that’s who a summer staffer serves? Or is it to follow in the footsteps of Jesus?  

When my concern is focused on the needs of others I simultaneously forget about my own trivial junk, and I help alleviate the burden someone else feels. When those around me are of the same mind, the hard things in my life likewise receive help. I no longer need to give way to my anxious thoughts. There is great freedom in knowing it is not about me.