Selfishness. I guess I could leave it at that, but that wouldn’t make for a very interesting blog post.
I have known for a long time that I am a selfish person – perhaps more selfish than the average American (apparently Americans are more selfish than the rest of the world – see here). I mean, I want new cars, nice homes, and lots of expendable income just like the next guy, but my selfishness goes a lot deeper than that. Sure, I don’t clean up after myself like I should (my wife is my witness), I complain when I get treated unfairly at the store, a restaurant, or at a red light (why am I always the one who gets caught at red lights?), and I tend to notice when others get treated better than myself (why does my boss always ask the other guys if they’re going out for lunch, but he never asks me?). I almost always fail to get my wife anything special for Christmas, her birthday, Valentine’s day, or even Mother’s day! She always ends up picking out her own gift. I hate that.
But this is more than just that kind of stuff. I can feel my selfishness inside me – like a disease.
Jesus says in Luke 9:23 that “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” I’m not sure what He meant by taking up our cross every day. When I was doing a Men’s Fraternity Bible study a few months ago, Robert Lewis (the teacher of that study) interpreted it to mean that we must die to ourselves every day – meaning that we have to let go of our own desires and give in to the desires of others and to the will of Christ, and to follow Him by trying to be like Him. Another study I have done recently discussed how, in Jesus’ time, people understood that the cross was a cruel method of death, and would have understood Jesus’ statement to be saying that we must be willing to give our very lives (like, be willing to go and die a horrible, painful, and shameful death) for the cause of Christ as we live each day trying to be like Him (Online Bible College, A Passion for God’s Word, Lesson 9). Either way, I’m not doing either one. I’m too selfish to give my life for much of anything, and my selfishness is proof that I haven’t died to myself in a long time (or ever…).
So, what’s a selfish guy to do? I don’t know. And why should I tell you, even if I did know? It would be my knowledge! But I guess that would be kind of selfish of me…
But I really don’t know. What I do know is that God is changing me daily. Just since I’ve started blogging here (just in the last few weeks), I have noticed that He has used my reading, Bible study, and contemplation (thinking a lot about spiritual things) to change my way of thinking. I pray that this continues. And in the mean time, I’ll probably go buy my wife a gift, and start thinking of ways to make war against my selfishness. Join me!