Psalm 119:36, “Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain.”
Today with the rise of reality TV and online social networking sites, people are easily becoming the most self-serving generation known to mankind. Paul actually warned of this new level of self-worship in the end times in 2 Timothy 3:1-2, “1 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud…” Did you know that greed, abortion, famine, urban decay, obesity, addiction, fatherless homes and the like all have their roots in selfishness?
Jesus commanded His disciples to deny themselves, take up their cross and follow Him because He knew how self-destructive our selfish desires can be.
Self-centeredness has many different manifestations- sometimes it will appear in conversations when a person doesn’t let others speak but continually makes the entire conversation about them. Other times, selfishness is seen on people’s social sites when all they do is post up pictures of themselves, talk about their lives all the time and never contribute anything positive to others. Likewise, selfishness is seen in the church when so-called-Christians are unwilling to serve and help others but seek attention for themselves in all they do.
Jesus said in Matthew 16:24 that the first thing you had to do if you wanted to follow Him was, “deny yourself.” In other words, Jesus taught His disciples that life with Him was no longer about their wants, dreams and expectations; but rather, first and foremost life is about God’s wants, dreams and commands! Also, Jesus said in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” God’s Kingdom is about Jesus and serving others, often times the “least of these” (Matthew 25:31-46).
Idolatry is just as popular as it has always been, it’s just the idols are no longer called, “Zeus,” “Buddha” or “Krishna.” Now they are called, “Fame,” “Sports,” “Entertainment” and “Me, Myself, & I.” Sometimes I talk to people who think they are free from selfishness because they say, “I work hard, provide for my family and help my neighbors whenever they need it.” However, without Christ, even a person’s own good works can become their idol because it’s about what they did and not humbling one’s self to worship and serve what Jesus did.
On Judgment Day, when heaven and hell are at stake, Jesus isn’t going to ask if you were a good person. Instead, He is going to ask have you been born again. Did you deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Jesus? Or did you live according to the words of Frank Sinatra’s song, “My Way?” C.S. Lewis once said, “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’ All that are in Hell, choose it.’”
Do you want to be free from a self-centered life? Pray this out loud, “Father, I ask that you, ‘turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain,’ in the name of Jesus, Amen.”
Have you ever put your wants, desires and ways of doing things before your obedience to God’s commands?
- Repent of the times you have been selfish.
- Ask God to turn your heart to His commands and serving others.
- Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Jesus! (Matthew 16:24)
One Year Reading Plan
Jeremiah 6:16-8:7, Colossians 2:8-23, Psalm 78:1-31, & Proverbs 24:26. Click here to read online.