"Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others." Philippians 2:3-4
We are human beings who inherit a sinful nature at birth. The Bible tells us that we are sinful from the time of our mother's conception. One of humanity sinful nature is manifested through selfishness. Selfish self is something that we are born with, it is a hindrance to our walk with God who is self-less and it cannot be overcome until one gives their lives to Jesus and surrender to Him. A friend used to say that even a baby as they come out of their mother's womb, the first sound they make as they cry sounds like, "me, me, me! Even early on, their language is to cry, "come help me, feed me, hold me, change me..."
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But now we are born again of God. As we read the scriptures and we believe and so practice them, the Lord begin the process to mold us and form us into His likeness. So now is the time if you have not done so to get rid of this selfish self that lives inside of you. Selfish self blind you to only see your problem and to just take care of yourself and turn a blind eye on the distress of those around you. Selfish self does not care about what others are going through. Selfish self desensitize you and make you numb to the needs of others. For example, selfishness may keep you on your cell phone, have you focus on your own world that even if a baby cries, you do not pay attention; even if a brethren say 'I am sick', you do not hear it, you do not feel a thing, you do not see the need to help... that even when a guest comes at your home, instead of fellowshipping, people choose to stay with their electronics. This is the world that we are living in and we really need to pray for our generation to wake up. If we are a generation to see the coming of the Lord, should we not be a generation that KEEP WATCHING AND PRAYING? Oh selfishness self, it focuses you only on you / family problems while there are others who are around you who have even worse problems than you but it makes you think your problems are the most important and the worst.
"Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world." Orphans and widows means the helpless, the needy. So how are you my friend visiting the orphans and widows in their distress? How are you doing caring for others? How are you doing helping others? Are you waiting for all your problems to be dealt with then you can help others?
Often times God is not asking us to do doing big things! It is not about big things. A phone call, a letter, a note of encouragement, a prayer... all those things are very important, though small, they make a big difference.
It is time that we become like Jesus who emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant. He loved and served others till death (Philippians 2 ). The Word of God admonishes us, "Do nothing from selfishness". Do not do it for what is it in it for you, but even without reason do it because it is the right thing to do. Everyone of us, we can make the difference in what our brothers and sisters are going through. Not only Jesus saw the needs of others but He felt their pain, he felt what they were going through and He always did something to lift the burdens off people's shoulders. He healed all the sick that came to Him; he delivered those who were oppressed; he fed the hungry - He always responded to men's needs. And to this day, that's what you get when you come in God's presence. When you come to God in prayer, He always lift the burdens off. So tell Him your issues, vent, pray until the burden is lifted off. It might take 30 minutes, it might take 1 or two hours; however long it takes do it.
We love ourselves, we love to take care of our own needs and this is good but are we able to also to notice the needs of others? When we go to the mall to enjoy a day of shopping do we think about others who are less fortunate and do we remember them? Do we remember those who are naked or less fortunate? When we are blessed, do we think of others? When we feed ourselves, do we think about those who have nothing to set at their table? Do we remember those who do not have a roof over their heads? When a neighbor is sick, do we care for them? When they are hurting, do we feel their pain?
But many times we say, 'well, I do not know their needs!' But how come you do not know? Do you have eyes to see and you do not see? Do you have ears to hear and not hear? Start fellowshipping with people, talk to them, look and listen to them, you will see and you will know . Someone comes to your congregation and maybe they have not had grocery for a long time and we do not know? Why do we not know? Because the selfish nature pushes us to be consumed by our own needs that it prevents us to see what others are going through.
So to all of us, God wants us to be mindful of other's needs. My pastor used to say, "you need to have ant's eyes, eyes that detect other's needs even before they tell you." If you care about people, you will know.
In Luke 10, we read a story of a good Samaritan. A man is badly beaten and is left half dead in the streets. A priest pass by that way, sees him and looks the other way. We are so consumed with our own problems and agendas that we miss welcoming the angels God send our way and we miss Jesus who visit us in disguise often times. How many angels have you missed? How often did you pass by Jesus who came to you. Let's reflect, let's repent and may the Lord be merciful to us.
Today, God is reminding us to have a heart that cares for others. A heart that feel the pain of others. A heart that serve others even putting our own interest aside. A heart that put ourself aside and help others get ahead. My beloved friend, let us not be obsessed with getting our own advantage. God is helping us to forget self long enough to lend a helping hand. Today, God is helping us to put ourselves in other's shoes - This is the way to conquer the selfish-self nature.
What you lift off from others cannot weigh on you. When you evangelize and daily snatch others who are falling into the pit of hell you gain life not only for you but even for your own people. They will be saved by Almighty God. You give life, you gain life! When you take care of other's need, yours are met. Let us lay our burdens down and choose not to focus on them but choose to find those who have similar or different burdens - a prayer, a word of encouragement, love in a practical way, it all helps. Whatever you do to serve others and help them, God will not forget.
As I finish writing this, I hear the Holy Spirit say, "Do not be afraid to take the sword of the Spirit and kill the selfish self that lives inside of you. Caring and helping is a culture of heaven. So care and help. Keep it going. Pass it on!"
Thank you for reading this devotion. I would love to hear your comments. I would love us to have conversation going. I am now going to praying for you, that God bless you my beloved friend to conquer the selfish self nature and to allow Jesus to live fully inside of you.