Sunday, June 5, 2011

ON SELFISHNESS

"At this very moment you and I are either committing [selfishness], or about to commit it, or repenting it."
Are you like me and think that C.S. Lewis is wrong about this?  I mean, I am not selfish, am I?  I mean, I think of other people.  I don't only think of myself.


But then I stop and think about my day.  Did I not get annoyed at a friend who called me because he was in trouble?  I got annoyed because I was busy working on my own stuff.  And didn't I get annoyed when my roommate ate the last of the cookies, because I bought those as a treat for myself?  And when I did I not get annoyed when my workout was interrupted?  Who was I thinking of in each situation?


The world teaches us that there is only one person who is going to look out after ourselves, i.e. there is only one who looks out for Number 1.  Selfishness evades our lives; it is so accepted that it is overlooked, or worse, lauded.  In fact, often we feel justified in being selfish.  "I need time for myself"; or "I worked hard for that, so I should enjoy it."


C.S. Lewis correctly warns us about this despicable, yet pervasive trait.  The Bible puts it this way:
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. (Philippians 2:3-4).
Instead, our example is to be Christ, who, though he was God, 
"emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." (Philippians 2:7-8).
At its core, selfishness is rooted in fear, specifically, that if I do not look out for myself, then no one will.  As Christians though, we can trust that God will look out after us.  Indeed, 
"no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly." Psalm 84:11


I am preaching to myself as much as anyone reading.  We need to be vigilant against selfishness.  Shift your focus over the next few days. See if there is any selfishness in your life.  I didn't think that there was any in my life, until I read this quote and watched myself.   Watch over the next few days.  What annoys you?  Who bugs you?  When are you thinking primarily of yourself and not the other person?  Are you failing to trust God in that area? Are you putting the interests of others ahead of yourself?

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