Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Selfishness (02/14/05)
TITLE: Selfishness is not God’s call!
By Richard Krejcir
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Have you ever thought through what God thinks of our selfishness? How such mindsets affect our relationships to Him and to others around us? Have you considered that our egocentricity leads us to being thoughtless, to have a lack of consideration to others, to be rude, and insensitive? These traits are the opposite of Godâ€™s call to us! These become the rotten fruits that will elevate our schedules over individuals to the point of causing us to be offensive, callused, and unconcerned. We will fail to see people as of primary importance--as our Lord has called. We will also fail to put love into action. One of the principles of love is that it is not rude, so, real love has good manners. Then these traits grow and become Greed, Stinginess, Selfishness and Miserliness. These rotten fruits rot because we hoard what is given to us and then we do not use them properly as Christ called us to do. This blocks the flow of Godâ€™s blessings and 'living water' from flowing in us. We will become stagnant and useless to the Kingdom or the people around us. Our selfishness will allow the continuance of pride and arrogance, and the â€śrotten fruitsâ€ť will be the driving force of our life, the quintessential things that God hates the most (Proverbs 6:16-18)!
So what should we do? Consider and pray about how to be â€śthoughtfulâ€ť (Philippians 1:26-30; 2:3-4; Colossians 3:13-17; 1 Peter 3:7-12), this helps us consider others, and gives attention and care to their feelings first. It helps us take the load and focus off ourselves, so as to be able to see the needs around us. It is a form of love that seeks to uplift and do good whenever possible. It is the opposite of selfishness, yet, it does not cause us to neglect ourselves because that would be unkind to Godâ€™s childâ€”you! It is especially appreciated when it is not expected. Bring thoughtful will not allow schedules to take priority over people.
Thoughtfulness is the sweetness of the Christian life. It is the window treatment and decorations that make us sought after and standout. It will inspire us to be persons who care, love, and are considerate. So, you have to be willing to be honest with yourself and ask, am I courteous and gentle, both at and away from Church and the people I esteem? A Christian must never be unkind to any person for any reason, other than the protection of self and loved ones. We are called to build each other up, and that cannot happen when we are tearing one another down with rudeness, gossip, or ignoring others. This character is like a boomerang. The more you throw it out, the more often it returns. The more you give it out, the more you receive consideration in return. But, our motivation is not what we receive, but how we are obedient to our Lordâ€™s precepts.
Another Christian trait that will help us overcome being selfish is â€śGenerosityâ€ť (Deuteronomy 16:17; Proverbs 11:24-25; 13:7; Matthew 10:8; 2 Corinthians 9: 6-15), this character allows us to give to others because God has given abundantly to us. It is the wise use of stewardship and the attitude that all possessions belong to God. We are merely the caretakers for His purpose. It will see the Lord as the Source of true blessing, not our selfish desires.
Generosity is an example of our trust and reliance on God. Because He has given so much to us, way beyond what we can comprehend, we can therefore be charitable with others. This is an act of worship--to model Christ, and see the big picture that goods and material things are not important, but relationships are. This goes to giving back to God, providing to those who have less, and making sure your church is modeling this character.
Let yourself be a rich and growing reservoir, overflowing like a fountain of living water that refreshes and encourages all those around you (Eph. 5:18). This will be your sweetness and virtue to others, which will point to God and be a welcome mat to the Christian life.
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