Warning: Spoiler Alert...if you are planning to see The Box anytime soon, which I do not recommend, do not read this post as it gives away the whole movie.
Recently, my wife and I sat down to enjoy a movie together called, "The Box." Unfortunately, there was little enjoyment as we followed Cameron Diaz through a bizarre journey where higher alien life forms were conducting an experiment on the human race. The gist of the experiment is that a couple is given a box (by a very strange man with a disfigured face) with a large red button. They are told, push the button and you will receive one million dollars, but someone whom you don't know will die. If you don't push the button, the offer will be made to someone else.
Cameron and her husband have some pressing financial needs and so they push the button, believing the money will assure them of an easy life. And, as they conclude, everyone dies sooner or later, so if someone we don't know pays the price, it's not such a big deal. As you might image, pushing the button is a big deal. Pushing the button only leads them to frustration, pain, and chaos. It does not end well for them!
The one redeeming moment of the whole film comes when the disfigured man is being asked about how the experiment could be stopped. He replies, "Oh, the experiment could quickly come to end. People just have to stop pushing the button. But no one will stop." Faced with a choice for perceived personal gain at someone else's expense, the human race continues to choose for the self.
While I cannot recommend the movie, I do recommend considering how we are faced with this choice on a regular basis in our own lives. We have a button in front of us that we can push called "self". Pushing this button seems to promise an easier, better, and happier life. But just like the movie, this promise is an illusion. If we are honest, we can see that pushing the button of self leads to a great deal of frustration, pain, and chaos in our lives. The very things we thought would help us- doing what made us happy- actually end up destroying us.
This is why Jesus was so adamant about calling people to deny the self and lay down their lives. This is why Paul invited people to consider others as better than self and to throw off our old nature (self) in order to follow Christ. A choice to gratify self at the expense of others will always put us in opposition to what God wants to do in our lives.
So, the button sits before you. The button is red and shiny, full of promise. Don't push it! The easy way out is never easy and it never leads out. It is only when we deny ourselves and follow after Christ in complete surrender that we find life, hope, and true freedom.
Journey in peace today!