You only have to look around at our culture to see the blindingly clear message it sends us. The message that ‘self‘ is the most important person there is. We see this in tv shows, social media, magazines, beauty products and the ever popular selfie. We are being hand fed the message that we matter more than others, and that its ‘ok to worry about yourself and what makes YOU happy’. The saying is ‘You do you’.
The mindset of ‘self’ is a trait that sneakily creeps in to our lives and makes us think that we are are entitled, justified, and allowed to think and act a certain way. Over time this ‘self’ attitude causes us to seek out people and things solely for our own benefit and to discard them if they’re not of any use to us. As divorce rates rise and relationships crumble, we find that selfishness is a common theme. It also shows up in our work places where we will stop at no expense to achieve that corporate success, no matter who we trample over in the process.
We seem to be very aware of when someone is being or acting selfish towards us, but never see that we are also guilty if the very same thing. With this being said we have ALL been selfish at some stage of our lives and I can guarantee on more than one occasion. I know I have.
So what does it mean to be selfish you ask?
Selfishness can be stated as considering your own needs, wants, emotions, thoughts (pretty much anything) as being more important, and showing little to no concern for others. It is about what you can receive not what you can give to someone.
What is the alternative? Is there another way?
Yes and its called being SELFLESS
Being Selfless does not mean that we let people walk all over us or that we are a doormat. No not at all. It means we desire to truly care for those around us and the many needs they have more than our own. We are to love the unlovable whether we get something out of it or not. Why? because that is how Jesus loved. He loved selflessly, sincerely and compassionately
Sadly, because of the world we live in, selflessness can be such a hard trait to exhibit. It isn’t impossible when we allow Jesus to change our heart and mind the way He states in 2 Corinthians 5:17. Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! We can start a new way of being towards people that is other focused over self focused.
How else can we learn to think of others more in this self centred world we live in?
I think learning to show true genuine compassion for others and their struggles. We ALL have issues big and small, and we can all use a listening and supportive ear from time to time. Be that person to for someone.
Truly listen when they talk.
Don’t half listen while you are thinking of other things or even what your next meal will be. Give them your undivided and uninterrupted attention.
Be an encourager!
Be someone who is willing to build up those whom others may make fun of, or not want to associate with because all they do is ‘talk about themselves’. Admit that you will have done the very same thing at some stage also. No one wants to feel alone, unwanted or unwelcome, so aim to include others no matter what.
Spend time with God and build Christlike characteristics
Ask God to reveal to you any traits that maybe rooted in selfishness and work on changing them to be better able to reflect Gods nature.
Adopt an attitude that is grateful
Gratefulness is such a vital thing in todays ungrateful and impatient world. Be thankful for all you do have and the blessings God has given you in this season the good AND the bad. Take it all as Gods way of moulding and shaping us to be more like Him.
So with all this being said make the choice today to start living a life where you are more concerned for others than your own needs. As it says in His word, it is better to give than receive anyway, and I don’t know about you but seeing someone else be overwhelmed by the kindness and love of a stranger gives me greater joy than anything i’d wish for myself.
Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”
– Philippians 2:4