Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,~Phil 2:3.
For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind,~James 3:16.
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power…,~2 Timothy 3:1-5.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me,~Matthew 16:24.
I have not heard many sermons talk about selfishness as sin, yet the Bible is loaded with scripture on the evil that results from selfishness. The world says, “Think about yourself, your family, your needs, your rights, your pleasure, your dreams, your desires, your circumstances, how does this effect You!” The song that plays is, “It’s all about me! Me! Me!”
God says, “It’s not about you! It’s about building My Kingdom so as many people as possible can know Me, be loved by Me, and have everlasting life.”
God cares about everyone, not just the people in our little bubble, community, ethnic group, or sphere of concern.
Selfishness is the root of all sin.
Unbelief-I will not believe God. I believe what I think is right.
Jealousy-Someone has what I don’t have and I’m discontent because of it.
Coveting/Envy-I want what they have and don’t want them to have it.
Lust-I want what I want now.
Impatience-Why can’t God move on my time? Why can’t others move on my time?
Greed-I need to get as much as I can for me.
Gluttony-I don’t need to consume more, but I will keep consuming because it feels good to me.
Sexual Sin-I will follow my passions, do what feels good for me even if it’s outside God’s will.
Lying-I need to protect me, inflate my image, take care of me.
Indifference-If it doesn’t directly affect me, I don’t care.
Stealing-I will take what I need instead of asking & trusting God to meet my needs.
Unforgiveness-I need this person to pay for what they did to me even though God freely forgives me. I care more about my rights than someone being right with God.
Offense-I must be hurt and angered by how this person’s actions or words impacted me. Instead of how can I check my own heart and if they truly sinned, help them be restored to God.
Put downs, Gossip, Slander, Mean Spirit, Hurtful Sarcasm-I will put others down to build myself up.
Disobedience, Control, & Manipulation-I need to get my way.
Self Reliance-I will do this without consulting or relying on God because I know best.
Self Hatred & Self Exaltation-my opinion of me is truth instead of God’s opinion of me. Both are rooted in pride.
Racism/Prejudice-I am better than others and will judge or mistreat those who look different or are different than me.
Hatred-I will refuse to love.
Abuse/Unrighteous Anger-I will take out my frustrations on others or use them for what I need.
Discontentment-I will not be happy until God or someone does something for me or my situation changes.
Chronic Tardiness/Broken Promises-I will do what’s convenient for me.
Idolatry-I will worship whatever best suits me. Only God is worthy of worship.
It’s easy to see selfishness in other people and be offended by it. It’s more prudent to ask God to search our own hearts and to repent of the sin of selfishness. Selfishness is sin. It’s an idol of self. Instead of God being on the throne, we are. The bad news is-we are born selfish. The good news-Jesus came, died, rose again, and gave us His Holy Spirit so we don’t have to die selfish. Jesus is the solution.
We can’t strive to be like Him. We can obey Him, submit to Him, and cultivate relationship with Him. We let Him live through us. It’s about relationship with God. If God is number 1, there is no number 2. If our pure devotion is Christ, then self moves off the throne and is nailed to a cross. We no longer live, but Christ lives in us. It’s a process. Just as a baby grows to stop messing their diapers and demanding their own way, God parents us so we can become focused on Him instead of ourselves.
I’m still in process. You’re still in process. No one other than Jesus gets it 100 percent right. Our goal is to love God, respond to His love, correction, and guiding. It’s all for His glory!
Father thank you for sending your Son to save us from death, destruction, and the weight of sin. He paid a debt we could not pay. Help us to respond to Your love. You bring about lasting change. Reduce us to love. Break our cycles of selfishness. In Jesus powerful name, Amen.