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Sunday, September 11, 2016

Sunday Snippets: What Do You Mean, I'm Selfish?!

Romans 15:1-3 We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me."

My dad preached a message this morning in church that was really convicting for me. I normally write my Sunday Snippet posts on Saturday night, but I'm glad I didn't this time, because this sermon really touched my heart. Here in Romans 15, Paul is speaking about other brothers and sisters we have that are not as far along in their Christian walk as perhaps we may be. He is saying that we need to help them, bear their burdens alongside them, and not just "put up with" the scruples they have that are different and maybe a little strange. In Paul's day the big thing was with food--many Christians rightly understood that it is not what enters our body that defiles us, and that we have freedom in Christ to eat meats, or other things that some early Christians had hangups with. (I am of course not including alcohol, drugs, etc. in that list. It's a given that we are not to put that type of stuff in our bodies. We don't use our freedom in Christ to sin.) Anyway, we should be standing beside these weaker Christians and helping them to grow, not bashing them for what they believe is the right thing.

Let's broaden this out, though. Instead of just thinking about convictions, so to speak, let's apply this to all of life. We are supposed to "not to please ourselves". We ought not to please ourselves. It bears repeating. Every one of us is born with a natural desire to please ourselves. We are totally me-focused. We lay in bed at night planning out the next day, and what we can do for ourselves to make the day go well, or to have fun, or whatever. Me me me. But look at verse 3...can you think of any time in the entire Bible where Jesus Christ pleased Himself? Even one time? He talked about how the foxes have holes, and the birds have nests, but Jesus didn't even have a little shack to call His own, because His entire life on this earth was spent in serving others and not Himself. He was the King of the Universe, and yet the humblest of servants. What does this reflect on us, as we bicker and snap at one another to maintain "our rights" (as if we have any, as slaves of righteousness)? Wow. 

In God's Word, He speaks of the hireling that flees when the wolf comes, because he cares not for the sheep, and the wolf takes them away. Selfishness. The Prodigal Son, who wasted his living and brought great grief to his father for months or years. Selfishness. Amnon, who stole his half sister Tamar's purity and subsequently caused irreversible anguish and heartbreak that lasted for years and affected so many. Selfishness. David, who took Bathsheba for himself and had her husband murdered, causing a curse to come on his household, as well as making his old friend Ahithophel, (Bathsheba's grandfather) to turn against him. Selfishness. Ahab, who saw Naboth's vineyard and wanted it so much he was willing to commit murder to get it, and did. Selfishness. Need I go on? All throughout history, man has lived for himself, and not for God or others. And we are still doing it today. If you look at any normal day, I can promise you that a LOT of what you do is selfish. It is for me!! I think probably about 98% of what I do is selfish! :( That's why this message hit me so hard.

On the flip side of this, what is the opposite of selfishness? Selflessness! Just like Christ, we need to live every day to please others. Denying ourselves, not just for no reason (think monks who live as hermits, in poverty, etc.)--that is not the right kind of self denial. The kind of self denial that is pleasing to God is when we give up what we want in order to be a blessing and a servant to those around us. Selfishness can destroy families, relationships, churches, and lives. Let's strive to live each day pleasing others, not ourselves.


  1. I think selfishness is something we'd all like to *think* we don't struggle with, but we definitely do!

    1. Wow, I have been SO bad at replying to comments lately!! :( Yes, that is incredibly, sadly true. I think that and pride are the hardest things to see in one's self!!


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