"Selfishness is being concerned, sometimes excessively or exclusively, for oneself or one's own advantage, pleasure, or welfare, regardless of others. Selfishness is the opposite of altruism or selflessness; and has also been contrasted (as by C. S. Lewis) with self-centeredness." - Google Whether you turn on the television, radio, computer or drive around your city and look at the ads around your area on thing is for certain, this world is hell bent on all of us pleasing ourselves and telling us how we deserve to get what we want. In most secular of situations we see the demand and popularity spillover on the pleasure of self and how we need to take care of ourselves over the so many other people and things in our life. Here is a list (to name just a few):
- You deserve a break today - McDonald's
- I will what I want - Under Armour (actually this was a good commercial about overcoming negative people)
- Mastercard “There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s MasterCard” 1997
- L’oreal “Because you’re worth it”
- Burger King "Have it your way."
- "What happens here, stays here." - ad for Las Vegas
Selfishness is something that we are not immune to. It begins at a very early age with our kids: "that's mine", "you can't have it", "give it to me, I don't want to share" and so it goes throughout our lives. These are raw emotions that none of us can escape because it is inherent in all of us. Look at the divorce rate in America (in the world). How does this process begin? How about in business? How about in life?
We live in a world that is opposite of God's will for our lives. That is not to say that there is no good anywhere in the world, because there is. What I am saying is what the Bible says to us, Ephesians 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." As a Christian, we have to understand that the moment we take a stand for God's truth and his justice and his mercy, then the enemy will take a stand against us. The very essence of the family is what Satan and his army want to destroy because that is counter to God's desire for us to be fruitful and to multiply.
When we have Kingdom eyes and Kingdom wisdom and discernment then our approach to our daily lives should start with the following:
- God is in control
- What is God's will for my life today?
- God loves me so much (He sent His Son to die for me)
- How can I serve God today?
- Where do I go to make disciples?
- Not my will, but His will be done
- Love my neighbor as myself
Altruistic means unselfishly concerned for or devoted to the welfare of others. God's love overcomes everything. When you encounter this love it transform you. God's love, put into practice looks like this:
1 Corinthians 13:1 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging symbol. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing. 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror;then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Instructions for Christian Households
Ephesians 5:21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[a] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[b] 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
Let's take this conversation a different way. If you are reading this blog and you ask yourself, "Self, do I know Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior" knowing that if you do, then you know that you have been forgiven much and have been forgiven such a debt that no matter what we try to do in life, we could never earn back for ourselves nor could we ever repay. Knowing this, then, we have been called by God to forgive others (and in some cases to forgive ourselves of past, present and future sins). This does not give us a free pass to continue to live in unrepentant lives, because also commands us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. We are called to a life of submission and obedience and to love as God loves us. To forgive as God has forgiven us!
Therefore, knowing this, who in our lives do we need to start forgiving:
- Our Spouse?
- Our children?
- Our boss(es) or work situations?
- Someone who has hurt me in the past?
- Someone who has hurt my loved one in the past?
- ___________ (fill in your blank)
When we hold back forgiveness, we put ourselves in a prison. We put ourselves in a box of bitterness and we withhold God's best for our lives. How about instead of trying it our way (being selfish - be honest, when we are living and doing our lives in a way that is anti-biblical, then we are being completely selfish) we try God's way. Let go and Let God. Let go of what is holding you back, let go of what is keeping you selfish, let go of what is holding God's best for you and let God move in your life.
Do not jump in front of his working (don't be selfish again once you let go). Put true accountability in your life and join a men's group (or if you are a woman reading this join a women's group) and/or find a mentor who will walk with you and share God's truth with you and who will be relational with you. Someone who will tell you the truth instead of what you want to hear. But the someone who will love you through thick and thin!
You may be saying, "I can't", "this will be too hard", "there is no way that God can take this dead thing in my life and make it alive and vibrant"? Really? Do we serve a God who is dead? Of course not!!! Do we serve a God who takes dead things and makes them live? Of course we do!!! God the Father loves us so much that He gave us His only Son to die for us. The Son (Jesus Christ) loves us so much that He gave His Spirit for each one of us that knows Jesus as Savior and the Spirit loves us so much that He cries out for us to God and Jesus even when we don't know what do say, He says Abba (Father).
If you are being selfish in your life, your marriage or your circumstance - stop! Confess! Repent! And turn toward God to lead you - let go and let God! If you are being stubborn and unforgiving then stop! Forgive! Repent of this and turn toward God's plans for you - not to harm you! Let go and let God!