I bet we have something in common. You’re selfish. I’m selfish. We’re all selfish. There’s just something in us that convinces us that we’re more important than anyone else. When I’m in a store, I don’t look at a new coat and think, I should give this coat to someone in need. I think: this coat is awesome, I’ll spare no expense to get this in my closet.
Unfortunately, this type of behavior is toxic. Even if it’s natural, almost a reflex for us, that doesn’t mean we should act on these selfish ambitions. So, how do we prevent ourselves from acting on this toxic behavior?
Joel Firebaugh teaching on How Not to Be Selfish
We point to Jesus to understand selfishness
In Philippians 2|3, Pauls says “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.” Paul is pointing to Jesus. Jesus is the ultimate example of selflessness. He came to earth, lived a sinless life, and died for us. So, who should we reflect? Jesus. This requires a rewiring of sorts. We have to stop acting on our own desires in order to turn others to Jesus.
We stop working for approval
Jesus didn’t die on the cross, so that we would have to earn God’s forgiveness. Jesus’ death on the cross allows us to stop working for approval and start working from approval. We already have the approval. We have nothing to prove to God. If our actions are selfless, we can successfully point others to Jesus rather than ourselves.
So, what’s in it for us?
We can deny our own selfish nature in order to point others to Jesus and His goodness. But, what do we get in return? Is there a trophy or a plaque with our name on it? Actually, asking this question is a perfect representation of our selfish ambition. Jesus offers us forgiveness, grace, eternal life, and a relationship with Him. As we begin to know Jesus and His character, it will become more natural for us to care less about our agenda and wants. We’ll want what He wants. Ultimately, He wants our hearts. He wants us to know Him as He knows us.
Are you interested in learning more about the Christian perspective on selfishness and other common life issues? Join us in a Next Steps group.