If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat….(Romans 14:15)
A problem arises when we consider our own needs above the needs of someone else. I don’t think anyone would disagree with me that our world and if we could be honest, all of us reading this entry have a problem with selfishness.
Here’s my issue. I’ve been quick to think I’m not a selfish person. I remember early on in my marriage thinking, I wasn’t selfish, but I sure knew someone who was. (Sometimes I don’t know why God doesn’t just strike me with a lightning bolt and call it a day).
Seeing the depth of selfishness within ourselves requires real, honest reflection about our motivations, goals and actions. You see, the issue as Paul writes really doesn’t have much at all to do with food. The issue lies in whether not someone who has the freedom to do whatever it is they have the freedom to do will set that aside to elevate the needs of someone else.
Selfishness dies when we lower ourselves to place the needs of someone else above our own.
I’ll be honest, I’m not very good at this, but, in my pride, I want to believe that I am. Sometimes I’ll get internally angry if having you in my presence means I cannot indulge in something I find pleasure in. For example, for me, it would not be a struggle to watch a show that has a scene with woman dressed immodestly. However, if any man is in the room that struggles with lust, out of my love for him, I must choose to watch something else, no matter how much I love the show and even if the scene is only a few seconds long.
You see, we have an issue when we believe it’s their problem and not ours. If a child came to you hungry, would you say the same thing? “Get away from me kid, your hunger is not my problem, go get a job and pay for your own food.” Of course not, that’s ridiculous. We who are more mature in Christ must be willing to give up our needs, in order to serve those younger in the faith, so their faith may grow.
What are you willing to give up today if it means the potential growth of someone else? Or maybe a better question to ask is, when does anger churn inside you as you think about not receiving what you want because of the presence of someone else? Whatever that thing is, it has your heart. It’s an idol, kill it, before it starts to destroy your growth in Christ.
Truth be told, our selfishness doesn’t just affect us, but it can, in turn, affect the growth of those under us; a child, a student you mentor, a group of new believers you disciple, etc. That is a scary thought, but one that should cause us to walk in humility for the furtherance of God’s kingdom and the killing of our own flesh.
Lord, I’m so quick to put my needs above others. I don’t want to live that way. I want to die to myself if it means the growth of those around me. Father, if any of my actions are leading others into sin, please forgive me and give me the insight and grace to understand when it happens so I might walk in humility and not in self-motivated pride. Help me in this Father, I need your grace, in Jesus name, amen.