Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
In Part 1, I started on the theme of looking at the acronym WIIFM—thinking about What’s in it for me? In other words, that’s the question that many people are asking. And the Bible has something that is more relevant; and that is what Jesus said that it is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35).
When we start to get a distorted image of our own importance and see ourselves as the centre of the universe we really lose touch with who we are as children of God. This distorted image of our own importance keeps us out of the lives of others and focuses on what we alone want and think we need.
I remember a story about a stranger that ran across a man who was standing under a street light and he was looking for his keys. He had lost his keys and he was looking under the street light. He was looking around all over for the street light and so the other guy says to him:
- “What are you looking for?”
- “I’m looking for my keys.”
- “Well, where did you lose them?”
- “Well, I lost them over there.” (Away from the street light.)
- “But why are you not looking over there?”
- “Well, the light’s better over here.”
And that’s the way people are. They go looking in the wrong place to do something about their problem. And the sad part of it is that if you go looking in the right place I think you will find that you will get answers to the question of selfishness. Allow God to see beyond yourself to his light. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me will never walk in the darkness”.
The Remedy for Selfishness
Paul wrote the wonderful love chapter in 1 Corinthians 13, and in verse 5 he says, “[love] is not rude; it is not self-seeking” (Amplified version). The Greek phrase literally means does not seek the things of itself. The corrective to self-seeking is God-seeking. The remedy for selfishness is love. Jesus said, “’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second [commandment] is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’” (Mark 12:30-31).
And so, it’s important to think of that Bible verse: “Love is not self-seeking (selfish).” That goes against the grain of this world, doesn’t it? We are inundated with messages about looking out for yourself, improving yourself, taking care of yourself, making yourself look better. Any bookstore or library will have a huge self-help or self-improvement section.
We are constantly told, You better watch out for number 1! or If you don’t take care of yourself, no one will! The message is almost everywhere. The dictionary tells us that the definition of self-seeking is the act or habit of seeking one’s own interest or happiness; selfishness.
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How much better to take to heart the Bible’s advice from Philippians 2:3-4: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit; but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”