If there is anything that comes naturally for us, it is living selfishly. Any of us that are parents know that you do not need to teach your child how to be selfish! After all, we live in a very “I” centered society. Everywhere we turn, our society is telling us about how you or I deserve anything and everything we want. From TV commercials to social media ads, they are all targeted at answering the question, what is in it for me? Selfishness has become a way of life for our society. From my personal experience, it can be easy to fall into living selfishly and not even realize it, as it has become the norm for us. Even though God has greatly blessed us, we can often fall into a spirit of discontentment, which stems from our selfish nature. Pleasing myself or furthering myself takes priority over helping or serving others.
The opposite of selfish, is selfless. The word selfless is not often used in our vocabulary. Selfless is an adjective that means, “concerned more with the needs and wishes of others than with one's own; unselfish.” This is a 180-degree difference from today’s society. Galatians 5:14 says, “For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: Love your neighbor as yourself.” I cannot think of a more selfless way to live than to love others as yourself. In fact, I think living selflessly comes down to love. Loving others, putting others needs above your own. Scripture says that our love for others is the fruit of how people will know that we are Christ followers.
Another way to live selflessly is to live humbly and to serve others. In Philippians Paul says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” Someone who is living in humility, to me, is someone that exemplifies the fruit of the spirit. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness self-control are all great examples of traits of someone that is living humbly, not selfishly.
I encourage you to live selflessly. Find practical ways to serve others above yourself. In your home, look for ways to serve your spouse or family. Take advantage of volunteer opportunities at your local church. Think of others when you are making decisions on how to spend your free-time or your money. Look for people that are hurting or in need and help them. Be intentional with those you have relationships with, as their needs will be more visible to you and they usually pay the price for our selfishness. Set aside time to pray for others. Build time into your routines that include serving and investing in others.
Romans 12:1-2 says, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” I encourage you to not fall into the pattern of selfishness of this world. Find your identity in Christ, not the things that this world provides. I pray that we can live with a spirit of serving and loving others and not ourselves. As there is tremendous blessing when we can live that way.