Self on a Shelf Devotional

Self on a Shelf

Julia Bettencourt

Posted December 17, 2014

Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.  Matthew 20:28

I'm not sure where this Elf on a Shelf thing started but I see things for it all over the internet and especially Pinterest.  Frankly, I'm not even sure what it is all about.

Personally I think these elves I keep seeing are kind of creepy, sort of like clowns in my book, but many people have fun with them I guess.  The only elf that I like is Hermey, the elf who wants to be a dentist, from Rudolph the Red Nosed Reinder.

I was behind a man in line at Target yesterday and he spent a small fortune on Elf on a Shelf items.  It just kind of blew my mind.  I've always known that Christmas has been commercialized beyond degree but as I stood there waiting in line for that man to get his Elf on a Shelf items; it just really hit me with a force.

I left there just kind of bewildered.  It was one of those poignant moments where that song wants to play in a loop in my head, "This world is not my home. I'm just a passin' through".

I've been thinking about this whole business of things that don't even relate to Christ's birth.  You know we all hear and say all the time "Jesus is the Reason for the Season" and "Keep Christ in Christmas".

After my little Target trip I just kept thinking how can I do that?  I mean really do that—Keep Christ in Christmas and not be way off there unbalanced somehow and this is the verse that God gave me.

Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.  Matthew 20:28

That verse really spoke to me and I've decided that I don't need to put an Elf on a Shelf but Self on a Shelf.  Oh, and of course leave it there.

I don't want to spend so much time on trivial things at Christmas that I miss the boat of really showing the love of Jesus through my life.  Not that there is anything wrong with having traditions and doing fun things, even things that necessarily don't have a spiritual aspect.

There is not even anything necessarily wrong with doing things that may involve elves.

I like hanging my stockings by the chimney with care like most people, but isn't selfless living the focus of what Christmas should be about for us as Christians?  Not living for ourselves but for the Christ Who came to be born, live, and die for us?

Self shouldn't have any part in us as Christians.  If we are really going to celebrate Jesus and why He came we are going to have to follow His example.  He ministered.  He served.  He was humble.  He put Self on a Shelf.

Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Philippians 2:4-8


We all have self.  Don't we?  It's not like it just comes to us.  We are all born with sin and with our selfish ways but when we become a Christian we have to do something with it.  We have to put it on a shelf.  We have to let it go.  We have to not let it continue to be a part of us anymore.

Can you imagine if every Christian on earth put Self on a Shelf even just for Christmas?  Maybe we could have 12 days of Christmas without self.  Can you imagine the change in the world?  Can you imagine the impact for Christ that would have?  What a beautiful world it would be!

We are supposed to be living that way all the time but we don't.  I know I don't always live selfless.  There's always that battle with the flesh.  I know people make all kinds of resolutions for the New Year.  I think this is one that I need to grab hold of and try to really concentrate on.  I need to put Self on a Shelf.

I think if we begin to put self away, then Christmas will become real to us.  All that giving to charity, all that helping the needy, all that goodwill toward men will really start to take root.

So, do you need to put Self on a Shelf?

Copyright ©2014 Julia
Scripture References are from the King James Version.

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