Selfish & Self-Centered

 

I like myself for the most part. If I could change some physical features to improve my appearance, I would take care of that. I like myself better some days rather than others. If all I cared about was me, I wouldn’t have my beautiful family. When I became a Dad over 30 years ago, I became less selfish at that time more than any other time. Children are born completely dependent on their parents for everything it seems. I have developed a love for children and I will sacrifice anything and everything I have for them. It’s almost automatic. I would give up my life to save any one of my children.  With all of that said, I am still selfish. I still like what I like when I like it. I like my routines. I like the last piece of cake. I like things to go my way. I want my kids to love me. I am a bit selfish and self-centered after all.

I came across this passage in Philippians right before Paul describes Jesus’ attitude so thoroughly and poetically. He speaks to humility and selfish ambition and I felt “smacked around” a bit. Check this out…

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. (Philippians 2:3-4 CSB)

I saw a two “absolutes” in this passage…

Nothing – no exceptions

Everyone – that’s really everyone – not just people I know and like

I still struggle with selfish ambition and conceit. I am learning that when I serve others, I end up being blessed beyond words. Zig Ziglar used to say: “If you help enough people get what they want, then you’ll get what you want.” Serving others is thinking about them and honoring them. Serving others is putting their interests in front of my interests. Serving others is making them more important than me.

It’s easy to serve people I know and like. It’s the jerks that drive me nuts. I don’t like serving jerks, but if I’m not careful I can become one. If I learn to serve even the jerks and “smart-mouthed” people, I’m growing to be more like Jesus. He was the perfect example of humility. I recently confronted another person as gently as I knew about how they were talking to me and treating me – I was really frustrated. I felt like the Lord helped me make a friend out a person who was being a bit of a jerk. This is not easy and I still don’t have it down pat, but I do want to serve others because as a Christ follower, I’m called to do that. It’s not optional – it’s a command and a part of His DNA. If I want to be more like Jesus, it starts with humility and serving.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

The Thought Counts

 

Thoughtful little girlI remember joking with someone once and told him or her that I “thought” about him or her and it’s the thought that counts! I was definitely being a bit sarcastic. I do think it’s important to be thoughtful and kind. I also think that I need to put action behind my thoughts in order to bless and care for others.

Solomon was offering a prayer of dedication at the Temple of God that he and his team had built. I love his synopsis about what happened when David wanted to build the temple. Check this out….

7 “My father David had it in his heart to build a temple for the Name of the Lord, the God of Israel. 8 But the Lord said to my father David, ‘You did well to have it in your heart to build a temple for my Name. 9 Nevertheless, you are not the one to build the temple, but your son, your own flesh and blood—he is the one who will build the temple for my Name.’

Forgive, and deal with everyone according to all they do, since you know their hearts (for you alone know the human heart), 31 so that they will fear you and walk in obedience to you all the time they live in the land you gave our ancestors. (2 Chronicles 6:7-9; 30b-31 NIV)

When I talk to the Lord, I’m talking to the ONLY ONE Who knows my heart. He knows the purity and the depth of my thoughts. He knows if there is pride and arrogance in my heart. He knows if there is compassion and humility in my heart. He knows the deepest motives of my heart. That has scared me at times – only because I know my heart too.

I believe the only way to keep my heart pure and clean is to surrender my heart to the One Who made my heart. He wired me to love. He wired me to have a heart of love and compassion. I think the environment I live it pulls me to be more self-focused and self-centered. I believe that pride is a major sin inside my heart. I actually think that most every other sin can be traced to the pride in my heart.

The Lord desires to work in my heart and transform my heart. If my heart is clean and pure then it will come out in my behavior. I can correct my behavior for a short while and maybe fake a few people out. I can never fool or fake out the Lord. I believe that working on my heart is working on the infrastructure of all that I am. Everything I am and want to become comes from deep in my heart. My hopes, my dreams, my ideas, my love, my compassion…- all come from my heart. If I “thought” about it, it’s because it’s in my heart. I believe that my thoughts of my heart need to be lived out in my daily activities for sure.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

I Want What I Want – NOW!

 

Cute children smiling at camera on white backgroundI really that think that most people, (certainly including me), want what we want WHEN we want it. I don’t like being told I couldn’t have something that I want. I have learned over the years, that just because I can’t have something don’t mean my life will end. I grew up in a family with 5 kids. We did not always get what we wanted. I remember as a kid wanting a mini-bike. This is small motor cycle that as I could ride over the hills or down the road in the little town I grew up in. My best friend had one and I wanted one too. I dreamed about having a mini bike. I coveted my friend’s mini bike. I survived that huge disappointment. As I grew older and learned the value of money, I realized that my parents did the best they could with the resources they had. My kids have wanted stuff over the years for Christmas that either I couldn’t afford to give them or I knew was not safe or healthy for them. I would have probably killed myself on a mini bike anyway.

As a grown man, I still want what I want when I want it. The scale of things I want are a bit different than a mini bike – the price tags are quite a bit more. I want more money than I have for sure, but I’ve learned that if I love money too much, it can destroy me. I heard a guy say one time that He wished the Lord would trust him enough to see if he could handle being rich beyond his wildest dreams.

King Ahab had this same disease of selfishness. He wanted a vineyard that was close by the palace. He approached the man named Naboth and asked to trade for his vineyard or buy it a market price. Naboth didn’t want to sell. Check this out…

3 But Naboth replied, ‘The Lord forbid that I should give you the inheritance of my ancestors.’

4 So Ahab went home, sullen and angry because Naboth the Jezreelite had said, ‘I will not give you the inheritance of my ancestors.’ He lay on his bed sulking and refused to eat.

5 His wife Jezebel came in and asked him, ‘Why are you so sullen? Why won’t you eat?’

6 He answered her, ‘Because I said to Naboth the Jezreelite, “Sell me your vineyard; or if you prefer, I will give you another vineyard in its place.” But he said, “I will not give you my vineyard.”’

7 Jezebel his wife said, ‘Is this how you act as king over Israel? Get up and eat! Cheer up. I’ll get you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.’ (1 Kings 21:3-7 NIV)

Jezebel conspired against Naboth and had him falsely accused of cursing God and the King – he was taken outside the city and stoned until death. She then tells Ahab to go take possession of the vineyard. This vile behavior did not escape God’s attention. He sent Elijah to call them out and tell them of their impending punishment for their wicked behavior.

I’m so thankful that the Lord is patient with me and my self-centered attitude. The more I get to know Him, the less selfish I tend to be. He is the epitome of a self-less person. The Lord set an example of service NOT being served. He is the Son of God and certainly could have been served, but He came to serve. I believe pride and selfishness is one of the number one roadblocks that keep my heart hard. If I really take a step back, I realize that the person who cut me off in traffic doesn’t know me personally. I can’t possibly expect that the world will revolve around my schedule and me. I can act like Ahab and moan or groan. I could even go back to bed sullen and angry. I need to filter my wishes and wants through the eyes of The Lord. I expect my list of wants and wishes will get edited and become much smaller.

Pressing On!

Dwayne