SPIRIT OF SELFISHNESS
Have you ever said these words or thought these words? “Man I’m always the bigger person? I’m tired of being the bigger person?” Or “I always apologize first. I always reach out and initiate why can’t they ever reach out first?” Or “Man I’m tired of getting my feelings hurt. I’m tired of no one caring about how I feel or what I’m going through.” Or “I always do things for them but they never do anything for me in return.” If we’re honest with ourselves we ALL have stated these words before or thought them. And if I’m honest it’s something that I have struggled with over the years and even still struggle with today.
Selfishness is one of the most predominating influences at work in human beings. When a higher pririty is placed upon pleasing self instead of seeking to obey the will of God and manifesting the spirit of love, evidence of selfishness is certain to exist.
The original demonstration of selfishness is recorded in Isaiah 14:12-14: “How thou art fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning. How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations. For thou hast said in thine heart, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God. I will sit upon the mount of the congregation in the sides of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds. I will be like the Most High.”
Lucifer was a highly exalted, glorious being who was not satisfied with his station. Because he wanted to have a dominion for himself, he sought the Almighty as his rival. Lucifer’s rebellious act enticed the first pair in Eden to sin, and for more than 6000 years, we have been witnesses to the disastrous fruitage of sorrow, pain and death which have plagued the groaning creation.
Selfishness does not merely have a corrosive effect upon character, but the possession of such a spirit can even lead to murder. In John 8:44 Jesus speaks to the Pharisees regarding the Adversary. He says: “Ye are of your father the devil and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning and abode not in the truth because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own; for he is a liar, and the father of it.”
Thus, because of his own selfish desires, the Great Deceiver led the entire human family into condemnation and ultimately death.
You see one thing about the “selfish spirit” is it can be deceiving. Deceiving to ourselves and to others. It can have us thinking that we’re doing “good” or showing “love” when in actuality our heart’s intent is a hidden selfish motive. I’ll give you some practical examples to help you better understand what I’m trying to say. Sometimes we do things not because we are being self-less and showing true love but because we do something expecting to get something for ourselves out of it. For example, a husband may take his wife out dinner, take her to her favorite store and buy her all these nice things but his motive for doing that is not fully simply out of love and to admonish and adore her. But because he knows that if he does these nice things at the end of the night he’s going to get a reward once they get home.
It is one thing to tell people they are selfish, or to even get people to admit that they are self-centred, but the greater challenge is, how do help people to change? How do we help free people from the inherent selfish nature within them? When Paul challenges the Philippian church, to leave behind their selfishness and to have true concern for others, he appeals to what should be common Christian experiences. He starts his challenge towards caring for others, by focusing on their “encouragement from being united with Christ”, the “comfort from His love”, and the “fellowship with the Spirit” (Phil 2:1 NIV). The motivation for being more concerned about others was based upon the strength of these three experiences. As individuals consistently draw upon the encouragement which comes from our relationship with Christ, the comfort of God’s love being upon us and the rich fellowship with God’s Holy Spirit, then we will sense the fullness of God and there will be less focus on ourselves or less attempts for getting the fullness of ourselves. Take time today to focus upon the encouragement which our Lord Jesus has to offer you, ask the Lord to help you see His great love towards you, and take time to commune with the Holy Spirit. May these realities help break the power of selfishness within you.