One of my biggest flaws is how selfish I can be if I am not consistently checking my heart. To be selfish is human nature but it’s also now encouraged by our society. There are so many little sayings I have noticed becoming the norm and being celebrated that the Bible directly contradicts. Most of them have to do with putting yourself first.
Jesus spoke on this in Mark by saying, “
And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” (Mark 9:35)
The apostles in the New Testament further communicated this with the early Christians. James writes, “But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.” (James 3:14-16). Philippians 2:3-4 says, “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
The Kingdom of God is not an “every man for himself” kind of kingdom. It’s not dog-eat-dog, it’s not “if I don’t do this myself it’ll never get done.” The Kingdom of God is very clearly set up as a place where we all take care of each other with the fruits of the Spirit rich in our hearts because we put God and others first. I serve others and become last, and others will serve me.
1 Corinthians 10:24 says, “Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says, “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” Paul’s instructions for the church on this seem lost in such a self-serving and self-focused culture we live in. Dear friends, don’t let this instruction be lost. The world will paint a very convincing picture of the importance of prioritizing yourself, but the Bible paints an entirely different picture. Ask the Lord today what areas of your heart are self-serving or self-focused. Ask the Lord how you can better serve your family, your community, your church family, and anyone else you encounter. When you do this, and others do this, the church will thrive. Ask yourself today, do I have a selfish heart? Or a servant’s heart?