Tag Archives: selfishness

ME, MYSELF AND I

Me, Myself and I used to be a well used statement and as I think about it,  it has to be the height of selfishness. Not long ago I heard a message on salvation and selfishness. It had never occurred to me before that when salvation enters a life, selfishness must leave because selfishness is sin.

That makes perfect sense to me now. Salvation means having Christ as the center of my life. Selfishness means I am at the center of my life which brings with it greed, self-righteousness, pride and a host of other selfish characteristics.

One of the times when I was at my most selfish was when our five children were all seven and younger. It was during a church service in our very small church and I ended up in the tiny nursery, a room with a variety of well-used toys and out of hearing of the message. I looked around and realized every child in the nursery belonged to me.

“What on earth are we doing here?” I asked myself. Without another thought I gathered up my children, left the church and walked home, carrying one and coaxing the other four along. Home was a two-mile walk on a gravel road and I had lots of time to grumble and complain along the way. Why do I even go to church? I never get to hear a complete sermon. It didn’t occur to me that the Lord was listening to all my selfish thoughts until He said to me, “Church is not about you!”

What? Once that statement sank in, the Lord had a few more comments for me. “Church (at this time of your life) is about teaching your children how to worship. It is about building a firm spiritual foundation into their lives.” I could add a dozen other thoughts that came to mind but you get the idea.

The next Sunday I was back in church with all five kids but with a changed attitude and a different focus: make church a happy place for my children. Today those busy little children are grown with children and grandchildren of their own and all active in their churches.

I won’t say that I have never had another selfish pity-party in my life, but at least now I recognize selfishness as sin and deal with it as sin. That day comes to mind when I hear people complaining about the loud worship music, the lack of old hymns, the seeming lack of respect or the casual dress code and into my mind pops the statement, “church is not about YOU.” James 4:1 asks “What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires within you (selfishness)?” James goes on for several verses talking about wanting what will give us pleasure.

In John 13: 34-35 Jesus says to us,” So now I am giving you a new commandment. Love each other just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”  So if I am selfish what is the world seeing and thinking?

I enjoy doing word puzzles and especially Cryptograms, where the letters are in code to be figured out. This week I decoded one that stated, “Love is what is left over in a relationship when the selfishness is gone.”

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INTIMATE ALLIES

Intimate Allies, written by Dan B. Allender and Tremper Longman II, is the BEST book on marriage I have ever read. It was published in 1995 before we got married. A marriage covenant between a man and a woman, made in the presence of God, is meant to reflect the perfect relationship between Father, Son and Holy Spirit. As His image bearers a marriage should also reflect the covenant between God and His creation. Marriage involves ‘leaving, weaving and cleaving’. I love that statement.

In recent sermons we learned that selfishness and a fear of death are the two biggest issues in our lives. We are called to love one another, be kind, faithful, forgiving, righteous, holy, in short, the opposite of selfish. Dealing with our selfishness is the evidence that we have been reconciled to God. Dealing with our selfishness is evidence that we are committed in our marriage too.

It wasn’t always the case in our marriage. Both of us were headstrong, rebellious and selfish at age nineteen and twenty. Yes, Christ was a part of our marriage and prayer was important but it was a work in progress. This past year, from July 2013 to July 2014, we had five family weddings and although I planned to give that book as a wedding gift to each couple, I only got my act together once. I’m sorry about that,

The main idea of the book is that, united together as one, we reflect the glory and diversity of God. Marriage is not about you (single). It is about putting your spouse first, loving, respecting and encouraging them to be everything God intended for them. Intimate Allies is a book that helps couples work through that process.

Years ago, as we were being interviewed for a pastoral position, my husband was asked, “What would you do if your wife’s ministry became greater than your own?” Bless his heart, he replied that it would be fine with him. Not to worry, that never happened. But in some cases it does. If the wife does have the stronger ministry it is the husbands job to love, encourage her to be all that God wants her to be and protect her. A wife’s job is also to love her husband, respect him and encourage him to be all that God wants him to be, NOT making him into what she wants him to be.

It is probably safe to say that if there is trouble in a marriage it is because one or both parties have not dealt with their selfishness. In that light we can understand how the solution to problems in a marriage is to deal with our own selfishness. Sounds a little too simple? It’s not but Jesus offers us His resurrection power to overcome death AND selfishness.

Jesus spurned selfishness and embraced death. If we are His image bearers we have a lot to live up to.

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