Tag Archives: selfishness

It’s all about me, right?

12 Sep

You know how when God opens your eyes to a spiritual truth that you see evidence proving it everywhere you look? Things that you once glanced over indifferently you know see as a treasure justifying what you have been learning from God.

Well, that thing right now for me is my selfishness. It’s like the blinders have been removed my eyes and I can finally see how utterly, completely, totally selfish I am. My self-centeredness seeps into every corner, every interaction, every detail, every thought, every attitude, every choice. When I find I’ve lost my peace, I just have to ask “What am I wanting now that I ‘m not getting?” and I have the source of my angst.

And all I have to say to this selfishness is:

WOW.

It’s scary. Horrible. Nasty. Ugly. Revolting. Diabolical. Evil. Heinous. Vengeful. Angry. Bitter.

In the sermon at church today, the pastor was preaching on Phil 4:11-13 where Paul talks about his secret to contentment. The pastor said that the reason why we become discontent is because we think “I don’t have what I deserve.” And that is exactly the reason why I am so self-centered.

I’m not getting what I want, what I think I deserve. I deserve peace and quiet, time to do what I want. I deserve to park my car in the garage and not on the street. I deserve to go to bed early and not be disturbed when Travis comes to bed. I deserve to read without being interrupted. I deserve to watch the program I want to watch on TV. I deserve to pick the movie. I deserve. I deserve. I deserve.

WOW.

What amazes me most about my selfishness is that I was mostly unaware of it until Travis called me out on it. And while my immediate reaction to his rebuke was “I don’t care if my words hurt you – you’re just being a big baby,” God’s grace to me in that moment allowed me to not only keep my mouth from saying that, but also to step back and look at my behavior. What I saw made me want to run and hide. It made me want to sit in the corner and cry. It made me want to throw my arms up in defeat. But again, God’s grace gave me the strength to apologize to Travis and humble myself.

My selfishness continues to rear its ugly head around every bend but now I can see it for what it is. I can see that it’s me trying to live out my own agenda, trying to get what I think I deserve, and mowing down anyone who gets in my way. And I can repent from that natural tendency and choose to live for God’s will and not my own. I can choose obedience over desire.

Just this afternoon, Travis asked me to help vacuum-seal his antelope meat. I REALLY did not want to help (after all, he’s the one who wanted to go hunting, right? Let him do all the work!) but God has called me to serve my husband. So I am helping. Perhaps not with the world’s best attitude but I’m a work in progress, what can I say?

While it’s hard to be confronted with one’s sinfulness and utter depravity, it is also a huge blessing. God disciplines those He loves – He doesn’t abandon us to our own devices and allow us to live out every whim. He intervenes, convicts, and transforms. I’m so thankful He does!! Only God knows what I’d be if He didn’t.

What shall I render to the LORD for all his benefits to me?

23 Jan

I have started to re-read We Would See Jesus by Roy Hession and while the whole book is utterly fantastic, this part put into words what I have been muttering in my soul for… a long time.

“To concentrate on service and activity for God may often actively thwart our attaining of the true goal, God Himself. At first sight it seems heroic to fling our lives away in the service of God and of our fellows. We feel it is bound to mean more to Him than our experience of Him. Service seems so unselfish, whereas concentrating on our walk with God seems selfish and self-centered. But it is the very reverse. The things that God is most concerned about are our coldness of heart towards Himself and our proud, unbroken natures. Christian service of itself can, and so often does, leave our self-centred nature untouched. That is why there is scarcely a church, a mission station, or a committee undertaking a special piece of service, that is without an unresolved problem of personal relationships eating out its heart and thwarting its progress. This is because Christian service often gives us opportunities of leadership and position that we could not attain in the secular world, and we quickly fall into pride, self-seeking and ambition. With those things hidden in our hearts, we have only to work alongside others, and we find resentment, hardness, criticism, jealousy, and frustration issuing from our hearts. We think we are working for God, but the test of how little of our service is for Him is revealed by our resentment or self-pity, when the actions of others, or circumstances, or ill-health take it from us!

“In this condition we are trying to give to others an answer which we have not truly and deeply found for ourselves. The tragedy is that much of the vast network of Christian activity and service is bent on propagating an answer for people’s needs and problems which few of those propagating it are finding adequate in their own lives. We need to leave our lusting for ever-larger spheres of Christian service and concentrate on seeing God for ourselves and finding the deep answer for life in Him. Then, even if we are located in the most obscure corner of the globe, the world will make a road to our door to get that answer. Our service of help to our fellows then becomes incidental to our vision of God, and the direct consequence of it.” (emphasis mine)

Wow. This is exactly what I needed to hear. This is exactly what I have been feeling, though I couldn’t voice it – that concentrating on my relationship with God was selfish and that I needed to be about other people. My fear is that if I let go of my felt need to serve and instead concentrate on God, then I won’t ever serve. That is the devil trying to keep me from growing closer to God!

I recommend this book to everyone but especially those who don’t feel close to God, or don’t completely understand the purpose of life.

Just another little snippet that is also wonderful:

“Grace permits us to come (nay, demands that we come) as empty sinners to be blessed, empty of right feelings, good character, and satisfactory record, with nothing to commend ourselves but our deep need, fully and frankly acknowledged. Then grace, being what it is, is drawn by that need to satisfy it, just as water is drawn to depth that it might fill it. This means that when at last we are content to find no merit nor procuring cause in ourselves, and are willing to admit the full extent of our sinfulness, then there is no limit to what God will do for the poor who look to Him in their nothingness.”

It is mind-boggling to me that God accepts, and actually requires, that I acknowledge my complete lack and His complete abundance. I don’t have to bring anything to the table. I don’t have to have any redeeming qualities in myself. I can come as a empty, weak, wretched sinner and God’s grace reaches out generously to bless me.

“Nothing in my hands I bring; simply to Thy cross I cling.”

“What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me? I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD.” (Psalm 116:12-13).

Instead of praying to be a vessel that God uses as He wills, I have been taking it upon myself to be of service to God. I have felt the responsibility and guilt of making my life worthwhile and meaningful. That is God’s job! I am the clay; He is the potter. He knows I want to be used. He wants to use me. He may not use me in the way I want to be or think I should be used but He will use me in His own way. It is insofaras I am walking closely with God that I will see the path and purpose for my life.