What an ugly word.
Yet I find my heart can often be described as nothing but that. Selfish. Stingy. Ungenerous. Mean.
I find my selfishness is the problem most often when things are spinning out of control in my home. Relationships are tense. Joy is buried deep under a pile of hurt. My husband suffers. My kids suffer. My communion with God suffers. Sometimes I believe it's really not my fault, but everyone else that has the problem. The kids don't want to obey. My husband wants to be lazy. But reading James 3:16 sure shines a light on that dark place:
"For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice."
Am I more selfish than other people? Probably not. I think most of us can admit that we struggle here. We know the Bible calls us to be self-LESS. Not full of self. It's one thing to know this; another to live it out. What's a girl to do?
Well, for starters, how 'bout a confession of our true heart posture? If selfishness is pouring out, that certainly means our hearts need a good dose of humble pie. What better person to look at than Jesus himself.
Christ's Example of Humility
"Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." Philippians 2:3-8
Jesus was the epitomy of selflessness. He gave up his cozy throne, warm robe, shiny crown, kingship. He came as a humble servant on a cold dark night as a helpless infant to a poor family in a barn. The reason He came? His beloved...us! He came to serve, not be served. Ultimately, he laid down his life so we could hear 'Not guilty' from the throne of God.
How does that empower us to live selflessly? Tim Keller says,
"People with a deep grasp of the gospel can turn around and admit that their selfishness is the problem and that they're going to work on it. And when they do that, they will often discover an immediate sense of liberation...You must lose yourself to find yourself." The Meaning of Marriage
Hold on tight to it. For it is the only fuel that can feed us to continually be selfless, no matter the circumstance.
What situation in your life do you need to grasp the gospel more deeply? Is there a struggle of selfishness you need to confess today? Be liberated, my friend!
"...let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross..." Hebrews 12:1-2
See you in the Round!