It's Not Me
"Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit…” Philippians 2:3
Our hearts are like Teflon. There are some things that just won't stick. We hear powerful sermons on essential topics, and our first reaction is "I sure hope he was listening." When confronted with convicting truths, our hearts deflect them onto others. We aren't the ones with the problem. It's everyone else.
In a sermon entitled The Counterintuitive Life, Matt Chandler, the lead pastor of The Village Church in Dallas, conveyed some powerful points regarding our selfishness.
The mind of man thinks only of itself. It has a consumerist approach to life that gains what it wants when it wants it at the expense of reason and wisdom. It thinks only of itself, and it will use and abuse all of those around them to get exactly what it wants. I think some of the ways this works itself out… This kind of self-centered, self-seeking, "I'm the only thing that matters…" Listen. Nobody thinks they think this way.
In fact, you're arguing with yourself right now that you don't think this way, so I'm talking to somebody else. In your mind, you're hoping that guy you brought with you is listening right now. That's what you're saying to yourself. "I sure hope Tom is listening." Nobody thinks they think this way, but by our lives, we do.
I think one of the ways we see selfishness really take root is how we treat other people, and that can be everything from how you treat your waiter or waitress to how you treat other people you feel are below you, and how you treat other people at work. Do you see other people as having souls, or do they exist for your gladness and the increase of your pleasure?
Our hardened hearts see people as means to our ends. They are merely pawns in our plans. When anyone dares to utter the word selfish, we instantly think of all the self-centered people who are standing in the way of our happiness. We aren't the problem. It's all those other selfish people.
Then again, consider the example of Christ. He was the only person who ever lived who could legitimately think of someone else when He heard the word selfish. Read Philippians 2:1-11. He is our example, and in the light of His life, every single one of us is soaked to the bone with selfishness.
What if it IS you? What if your selfishness is the source of your struggles and the cause of countless pains? Are you living up to the challenge in verses 3 and 4? The bar has been set high, and this side of heaven, we will always have work to do. Stop right now and ask God soften your heart and reveal your selfishness.