Tuesday, June 3, 2008

On Selfishness

“Every time we look at the cross Christ seems to say to us, ‘I am here because of you. It is your sin I am bearing, your curse I am suffering, your debt I am paying, your death I am dying.’ Nothing in history or in the universe cuts us down to size like the cross. All of us have inflated views of ourselves, especially in self-righteousness, until we have visited a place called Calvary. It is here, at the foot of the cross, that we shrink to our true size.”
- John Stott,
The Message of Galatians (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1968), 179.

I was talking with a friend of mine this weekend about how we can recognize selfishness in our lives. I would say that I don't necessarily consider myself to be a selfish person, as the world defines selfishness.

For instance:
  • I don't hoard my money at the detriment of others.
  • I don't strive to be noticed at the expense of others.
  • I try to be a servant to my family and others as often as I can.
  • I respect others and work hard at loving those who are not like me (I don't have to work too hard at loving those who are like me).
  • I strive to be like Christ who, described in Philippians 2:4-7, showed us how we ought to be humble.
Most of us can probably all agree with the list of comments above.  But, there is one test that will show us if we are a selfish person in God's eyes, and it is not what is listed above.  It is this:
  • Do I hold Christ to be the most beautiful, most desirable, most precious thing in all of my life (Philippians 3:8)?
  • Do I seek the Lord with my entire heart (Jeremiah 29:13, Psalm 119:10)?
  • Do I value the Word of God above all else in my life (2 Thessalonians 3:1, Psalm 138:2)?
  • Do I anxiously await the reading of the Word of God every day (Psalm 119:97-99)?
  • Does my soul desire after God as a thirsty, dying man desires after water (Psalm 42:1-2, Psalm 119:131)?
You see, if your answers to the above questions are not an emphatic, "Yes", then by God's standards, you are holding onto something that you desire, which is more precious than him.  Keep watch of yourself, because that is selfishness flaunted in the face of our Lord and Savior.
"You looked for much, and behold, it came to little.  And when you brought it home, I blew it away.  Why? declares the Lord of hosts.  Because of my house that lies in ruins, while each of you busies himself with his own house." - Haggai 1:9

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