OK, I begin by making it clear that I am not making this up.
Now that that’s out of the way, I just read an unbelievable story: “Selfie Deaths: 259 People Reported Dead Seeking the Perfect Picture.” I don’t know what to say about this, other than don’t do it!
The author goes on to report: “The quest for extreme selfies killed 259 people between 2011 and 2017, a 2018 global study has revealed. Researchers at the U.S. National Library of Medicine recommend that ‘no selfie zones’ should be introduced at dangerous spots to reduce deaths.These would include the tops of mountains, tall buildings, and lakes, where many of the deaths occurred. Drowning, transport accidents, and falling were found to be the most common causes of death.”
This begs the sadly obvious question: Why would people do this?
The simple answer is sin—well, pride and self-centeredness, really.
Now I don’t want anyone to send me ugly e-mails. I’m not saying that everybody who takes selfies is a “sinner!” What I am saying is that this story is just one more manifestation of our own sinful nature. The Bible identifies this as “the flesh” (“self” spelled backward, plus an “h”).
This is something that happened with the first humans. Adam and Eve struggled with this issue; and fallen, sinful humanity has had a problem with self—selfishness and sin ever since.
God planted a perfect garden and created Adam and Eve with His own hands. In the center of this garden, like a cosmic voting booth, God placed the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Long story short: Satan tempted Eve to question God’s character and commit sin (see Gen. 2; 3).
Eve ultimately believed Satan’s (and her own) perspective on God, His character, and ultimately our own sinful characters: “The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too” (Gen. 3:6, NLT).
Don’t miss it: Eve ate the fruit because it met her needs. She wasn’t thinking about anything or anyone else when she made that decision. Then her sin affected everyone else! That’s the way it always is with sin: the moment we sin we negatively affect all our relationships—with God, with others, and with ourselves. Some have said that all of humanity has an “I” problem (the middle letter of the word “sin”).
The apostle Paul revealed something of his struggle: “So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. . . . And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. . . . I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 7:14-25, NLT).
We know humanity’s natural bent toward selfishness and sin, and we know that as Jesus’ followers we have the power to fight it. But how? How do we overcome that natural tendency?
The answer is simple, but it’s not easy: we daily and consciously choose to live our lives with God.
The apostle Paul put it into terms that anyone in a relationship knows: “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. . . . Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit” (Gal. 5:16, 25, NIV).
When we do this consistently, we’ll be able to win the war against ourselves, Satan, and the world.
Just be careful when you take those selfies, OK?
Know Jesus. Love Jesus. Live Jesus!
Omar Miranda, a counselor and writer, lives with his family in unplain Plainville, Georgia.