Written By: Jessica
I think I speak for all of us when I say that we have experienced selfishness numerous times in our lives. Whether it was an unwillingness to share the blocks when we were little, or refusing to play a game with one of our siblings with the excuse that we had things we "needed" to do, it doesn't take long to think of selfish things that we have done or felt in the past.
While thinking about this post and what I wanted to write, a thought popped into my head. Or rather, my own definition of what selfishness truly is. Here is what I think best defines what selfishness is... "A focus on ourselves rather than on God." Think about it. When we are being selfish, we are only thinking about what we want. But when we focus on God, our thoughts are turned to serving others and fulfilling their needs.
Like all sin, selfishness is something that can be overcome with a lot of hard work and help from the Lord. But perhaps we are being selfish in ways we never thought of before. Or we think to ourselves that there are far worse sins we could be committing. Lets look at some forms of selfishness together and verses that can help us to overcome them.
1. Money - Money is an easy one to point out. We can easily get selfish with our money and want to spend it all on ourselves instead of giving portions of it to God and using it to bless others. There is yarn on sale, or we want a new dress pattern, or another necklace/bracelet/set of earrings to add to our collection, or maybe some new computer gadget.
When I think of money, I can't help but recall a book that our church went through together last year. It is called... "The Treasure Principle" By: Randy Alcorn. It has actually been a while since I read this book so, while I don't remember everything in it, I can remember that it was a great book and really got me thinking about how I spend my money and what I do with it to please the Lord.
In this book, Alcorn shares five key principles to how we spend our money.
#1. God owns everything. I'm his money manager.
#2. My heart always goes where I put God's money.
#3. Heaven, not earth, is my home.
#4. I should live not for the dot but for the line.
#5. Giving is the only antidote for materialism.
Before I move on let me explain number four. It is similar to the idea of the dash in between our date of birth and date of death. It's not when we were born or when we died that is important, but what we did with the time that we were given.
If you haven't read this book, I would highly recommend it. It really gets you thinking about how you use your money to further the kingdom of God and please the Lord.
The Bible tells us... "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Matthew 6: 19-21
It is important to remember that nothing we have is truly ours. All of it belongs to God. All the money and possessions we have will eventually be gone. But God will be with us forever. We need to be willing to give up the things of this earth in order bless others and serve the Lord.
"He that trusteth in his riches shall fall: but the righteous shall flourish as a branch." Proverbs 11:28.
2. Thoughts - Selfish thoughts can often come streaking into our heads like bolts of lightning. Before we know what has happened, we are completely consumed with thoughts of what we want to do, eat, read, say, etc. "And why shouldn't we?" we tell ourselves. "Aren't we entitled to think of ourselves for a change?"
When we think only of ourselves and what we want, we are not being servants as God has commanded us to be. And when we aren't serving God, we are also not serving others and sharing God's love with them. That is selfishness in it's very essence.
Sometimes we can get bogged down with worldly thoughts about what we wear and how we look and focus on the things that we want to do. While the world may consider these things to be important, the Bible is very clear about how God views such things.
"But the Lord said unto Samuel, look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart." 1 Samuel 16: 7
In Matthew 6: 31 & 33 it says... "Therefore take no thought , saying, what shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."
We need to remember to serve the Lord and others instead of only thinking of ourselves. While it isn't wrong to think of ourselves to some degree - like when we study ourselves to make sure that we are continuing to do God's will and are not veering from his path - we need to remember that God wants us to truly live for others rather than ourselves. By living for others, we show our love for the Lord.
3. Our Time - Time is everything these days. People have so much they want to do or need to do, that they often don't make time for the one person that really deserves our attention - God. We get so wrapped up in getting this or that done and having extra time for ourselves, that we often miss opportunities to serve and bless others. It's easy to fall into this ditch. We want to hurry up and get our school done, chores done, etc. so that we can have time for what "We Want" to do. But then, where does that leave our family, friends, neighbors and the rest of the people in our lives.
So often we get wrapped up in what we want to do during our free time that we pass over the idea of helping our sister learn to sew a doll dress or partnering with our brother to plant a garden in the backyard. The truth is that our time really isn't our own but the Lord's.
With that in mind, we should be doing whatever we can to do more for Jesus.
Now, don't take this the wrong way. Don't go and all of a sudden tell your parents that Jessica from the "Meditations of His Love" blog told you that you need to do whatever you can to give more of your time to Jesus and therefore don't have the time to do your chores and schoolwork. That isn't what I am saying. What I am saying is... give God your whole day. Any time that you have the opportunity to put others before yourself, if it doesn't conflict with something that you are supposed to do like chores or school, then go ahead and do it. Even if you were planning on sewing that new jumper or emailing a friend. Put that opportunity before your own comfort and desires so that you can be even more of a blessing to your friends and family.
Jesus himself gives us wonderful examples of serving others in the bible. Everywhere he went, he put others and the Lord's will before his own desires and comforts. Even as He was dieing on the cross, Jesus was putting the sin of all of us and God's will before his own desires.
So, as we go about this week, we need to remember not to be selfish but to give of ourselves to the Lord and others freely. If this is something that you struggle with, don't get discouraged and frustrated with yourself. What you didn't accomplish yesterday can be done today! While you may not have overcome your own selfishness yesterday, God can help you do it today.
"And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible." Mark 10:27 (A similar verse can also be found in Matthew 19:26)