2 Timothy 3:1-4 – A somewhat depressing description of our times. Of mankind, unregenerate.
It is important for children to learn to share and get along with others. We expect to see this be a struggle with children, we don’t expect adults to be this way.
Unfortunately though, being selfish is something that we as grownups also struggle with.
These people that Paul was describing to Timothy were lovers of themselves. They disregarded the needs of others and best interests and rights of others. The attitude they have is “me first” not thinking of others.
Romans 16:17-18, Philippians 3 – To some degree all of us have fallen into this place. Isaiah 56 tells us that we have all strayed, we have all turned to our own way.
Even after we have surrendered to Jesus and committed ourselves to following him… even when we are living this new life, most of us find that there are outbreaks of resistance to the surrender terms. Self centeredness surfaces again.
It can show up when we are facing a temptation. We can give in. We yield. It can show up when we review a critical remark we’ve heard that troubles us. When there is constant concern about “what are others thinking about me” vs. “what is God thinking of me?”
The battle goes on. Sometimes we forget that God’s ways are perfect and best or we simply forget God’s ways and the damage that we do ourselves and our testimonies.
We would like to be free of this, we would like to be spiritually mature. When we mean business and are surrendered and want to know Christ… it does bring maturing. God is changing us.
Romans 6:11-18, Romans 12:1-2 – We are invited to yield ourselves to the blessed, kind call of God. A living sacrifice. We are alive. We are able to choose. We can still be useful in service.
Jesus tells his disciples that if they would follow him they need to deny themselves. It isn’t the self denial of skipping dessert, not buying a sweater, etc. Denying oneself is denying one’s own authority, losing sight of selfishness, forgetting self and its own interests. It isn’t denying our personality or make us a “non person.” It is a call to become Christ like, not cluttering our lives with selfishness.
There is a lot of talk in the world about “self esteem” or “self worth” while there is definitely valid points to be made regarding this, often this is a fancy term for selfishness.
Matthew 16:24 – Jesus said to his disciples, “If you want to follow me, deny yourself and take up your cross and follow me.”
Jesus isn’t talking just about afflictions of life. He is talking of the consequences of following Jesus and living a life dedicated to Him and to others, a selfless life.
Matthew 10:37, Luke 14:26 – Except a man love his family members less than Christ… putting his love for Christ first.
Romans 15:3 – What would Jesus do in our situations? How would he respond? We do know that he would put others first, he would serve others.
1 Corinthians 10:24, Philippians 2:3 – Seek the good of others. Esteem others better than yourself.
Think about the things you could do to help, encourage a person in whatever situation you find yourself in. How can I serve?
Romans 12:15 – No jealousy, rejoice and weep with those who are rejoicing and weeping.
Galatians 6:2 – Surrender. Denying self. Taking up Christ’s cross, following Jesus and serving others.
Abraham was a man of faith. The herdsmen of Lot and Abraham had trouble because there wasn’t enough water and grass for everyone.
Abraham and Lot had a discussion. Abraham, selfless and trusting God told Lot to choose where he would take his herds and tents. Lot chose the best. He suffered for that decision.
Abraham didn’t complain about being left with the “left overs.” He was surrendered to God. God blessed him abundantly.
Abraham was satisfied. He built an altar and worshipped God.
Live a life of service. Pray and practice. Think about who we are. We are God’s.
“Jesus first, yourself last, and others in between.”
Love God first and more than anything, and others as yourself.