Selfishness isn’t working.
We live in a country where there is this ideal called “The American Dream.” What is it? It is the idea that if we work hard and do the right things we can amass great hordes of wealth and power and prestige – the pursuit of life, liberty and property (or happiness depending on which version of this phrase you prefer). The goal of life according to the American dream is for me to be more, well, me! It’s all about me.
From the time we are infants our world has shown us that it is all about us. Many people, even those considered “poor” fill their children’s rooms with toys and stuff to show them they are important. We congratulate them for successes they achieve. We encourage them in sports to see who is harder, faster, stronger, better.
All this does is convince them that the world should cater to them. It breeds selfishness.
But how is that working for us? We have a generation of kids who are known as the “entitled generation.” We have marriages that are failing. We can’t hold a job. We retreat to social media to make our lives look better than they are.
Selfishness isn’t working.
Jesus came asking us to do the opposite of the American dream. He came asking us to seek first his Kingdom and his righteousness. He came asking us to die to self. He came asking us to consider the person next to us as greater that we.
But we don’t do that very well. Perhaps we don’t understand the value of what Jesus is offering. He is offering us identity as children of the Father – the Most High God.
We are trying to live good Christian lives while also pursuing the trappings of this world. We want stuff and power and wealth and prestige and grace and forgiveness. This is contradictory in nature.
When you pursue the presence of the Father in you – when you see yourself and those around you as children of the King, then you don’t matter as much. The only one that truly matters is Abba, Father.
When you became a Christian you “died to self”. You made Jesus the “Lord of your life”. How can you do either of these things when YOU still sit on the throne in your heart? You can’t. Selfishness isn’t working.
Yet, when you surrender and abandon self, Jesus sends his Spirit to live in you and see through you and work through you. You cease to be you and become an embodiment of Jesus, the selfless one. You begin to see others with His eyes of compassion. You begin to treat others with His way of servitude. You have died to self, so the arguments don’t matter anymore, and humility grows within you. You begin to look like Jesus. It is no longer you who lives, but it is Christ who lives in you (Galatians 2:20).
If you want to truly find peace, success, joy, greatness in this life you must die to self and passionately pursue the presence of God in you. Then you will see that blessing others is so much more fulfilling than seeking self.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” -Jesus (Matthew 5:3)