If there’s one thing we can all agree about culture today, it would be how self- centered we’ve become. The whole “self-help” genre is something that didn’t even exist 100 years ago and now it’s a best-selling book genre. We love to think about ourselves and live for ourselves. Life is for us first, and for others after our lives are going well.
I never realized how selfish I was until I got married. And it’s not like I’ve figured it out in the past 4.5 years either. I still don’t like to do a neighborhood walk with Rose if it isn’t my favorite route. I still hate to watch her favorite TV shows (they’re awful). I still hate it when she moves my stuff around. I do everything I can to fit her into my preferred life.
I do this with friends too. I imagine I’m not much different than many others.
And somehow we think if we do this with everyone around us, we’ll still submit to God. That’s almost laughable. We think we can put God on this fringe section of life, as if how we manage with the rest of our lives doesn’t change how we relate with God.
I don’t think we act selfishly on purpose very often. It’s something reinforced by our culture as normal. “What I want, I get.” So we act selfishly without consciously doing it, but clearly that doesn’t make it right. No one views selfishness as a quality characteristic to have.
Part of the reason the overall story of the Bible is intriguing to me is that it shows us a God who is willing to give us his most prized possession to be closer to us. He does this out of love. He does this out of selflessness. Much of why we view selfishness as a bad thing, despite our culture teaching us otherwise, is that we are drawn to this God who loved and lived selflessly.
In John 14:10 Jesus says,
“The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works.”
How do we break the selfish cycle we live in today? Drawer nearer to the Father.
We don’t associate selfish behavior with God, so in our acting for ourselves first we only prove to be distancing ourselves from Him.
As we draw near to Him, He begins to work in us.