Daily Devotion

What It Truly Means to be Selfish

"He who separates himself seeks his own desire, He quarrels against all sound wisdom."  Proverbs 18:1 NASB

I'm in a particularly foul mood…just stemming from a few things…and said to myself, "I wish I knew how to be selfish."  And I have been thinking avidly about what it truly means to be selfish, and if God allowed for any selfishness in the Bible.  I am a person that has always elevated the needs of others above my own happiness, resulting in sometimes stressful and hurtful situations, especially when my kindness is abused or taken for granted.  I am one of those people that considers other people's feelings even before I say something to them, taking sometimes weeks and months to say something that has been laid on my heart because I have to find the right words through prayer.  I often find myself calling my dog Parker selfish when I play with him, because he only wants to stop playing when he wants to, or he doesn't want you to touch his toys unless he wants you to.  So as I pondered this idea all morning, I figured I would do a little research to see what it truly means, because nowadays most people have a me-first mentality or they have a limited scope of what it means to be selfish.

According to the verse above, a loner or selfish, self-centered person is a person that seeks their own desire and argues with sound wisdom.  Okay, so I decided to cross-reference that with Websters' definition: being concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself: seeking or concentrating on one's own advantage, pleasure or well-being without regard for others.  Well, these are pretty close if not exactly the same.  And our Heavenly Father is against this because most importantly, selfishness separates us from Him. A selfish person will not even receive what you have to say, even if it is from God, because it will not line up for them with their plans.  In fact, according to Romans 2:8, God will pour out His wrath and anger on them.  Moreover, in Philippians 2:3, Paul invokes us to consider others as better than ourselves and to not be selfish.

I guess for me this is a little hard today, because like I said, I believe I always consider others before myself, often being hurt in the midst of that.  But I get a little comfort in the fact that God tells us to love our neighbors as ourselves–and of course in loving myself, I do not want to be hurt, so in love I should not simply allow someone to knowingly hurt me.  So instead of surrounding myself with others today, I'll spend the day working and talking with God so that He can clean up all confusion in my life and help me see what I am doing wrong.  Its okay to love on yourself, but once that 'love' starts to make you mistreat, manipulate and maliciously use others, you have lost the true meaning.

"The second is like it, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.'  Matthew 22:39 NASB


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