Pinocchio had a big nose.
Of course, that’s because it grew when he told a lie.
But the old tale about a wooden puppet who wanted to become a real boy conveys a message much deeper than just the perils of lying.
It’s a cautionary tale about selfishness.
Pinocchio lied to feed his selfish nature, and selfishness only offers temporary happiness. In the end, it makes you less than what God created you to be.
The story begins with Gepetto, Pinocchio’s father, telling him the wise way to live. But Pinocchio ultimately turned away from his father’s words when street-wise Lampwick came along. Lampwick convinced him to skip school and go to Pleasure Island, a land filled with toys and pleasure and where you never have to work, face responsibility, or worry.
And that’s the way it was … for a while.
But one day Pinocchio saw his reflection in a basin of water and realized that he was turning into a mule, the very animal that had carted him to the land of toys.
The moral is that when you live for self and for pleasure, you don’t become a better person. It distorts your view of yourself.
We see that reality in the culture all around us. Depravity abounds because so many are living for pleasure as their ultimate goal. They live for themselves.
But God says, “Selfishness isn’t just wrong. It damages you.”
But here’s the fine line we all have to walk. There’s a difference between selfishness and self-nurturing.
Ephesians 5:29 says, “He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church.”
When we love ourselves, we’ll strive to be good stewards of ourselves and live with a measure of discipline.
The question we all face, then, is how do we toe that line and stay on the proper side?
That’s the topic of the conversation we’ll have on our broadcast today we’ve titled, “Living for Christ in a Me-First World,” with our guest Leslie Vernick.
Many people think of themselves in terms of, “Hey, I can do whatever I want. If I love myself, I can eat all the fattening food I want, lay on the couch all day, and give myself free rein to be whomever I want to be.”
But in God’s economy appropriately loving yourself means guarding your heart, seeking truth, and putting yourself under accountability, so you can mature and grow in Christ.
Leslie Vernick is a counselor and a life coach and an author. She lives in Pennsylvania, and I’m glad our team had the opportunity to do an offsite recording with Leslie there.