Friday, April 23, 2010

Oh, Selfish Heart

Hey everyone!

First of all, I just wanted to let you know that I continually pray for you, praying that this blog is touching each one of your lives.

Today, I wanted to talk about something that we all go through on a daily basis: selfishness.

What have you been selfish with? Your money? Your talents? Your time? Your very life?

A Christian rapper, by the name of Lecrae uses these lyrics in one of his songs:
"See your money, your singleness, marriage, talents, your time; they were loaned you to show the world that Christ is divine."
These words spoke to me.

What I've come to find is that people feel like their lives and the things in their lives, are theirs. When in reality, everything we have, down to each breath that we take, is God's. Every cent that we spend on our own selfish desires or wants, belongs to God. How can we expect be like Christ if we are trying so hard to hold onto what we have?

The entire point of this blog is explained in the Bible verse on the top of this page:
Luke 9:23 -- Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me."
We have to be willing to give up everything we have to follow Christ. Modern society tells us to hang on to what we have, keep things to ourselves, and hide things from other people.

Money is probably the most evident contributor to selfishness in our lives. We want to earn it, have more of it than the next guy, invest in it, or spend it on things that we want, but don't necessarily need. The Bible is clear about serving two masters.
Matthew 6:24 -- "No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money."
1 Timothy 6:10 -- For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
There is a story in the Bible, where a man wanted to follow Jesus, but he was wealthy and his possessions were great. He asked Jesus what he must do, and in Matthew 19:21-22, Jesus told him:
“If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” But when the young man heard this, he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
How are we supposed to give back to God what is rightfully His, if we hoard it and act as if it is our own? Better yet, if we are too busy holding onto it, how can we help those around us?
1 John 3:17 says, "If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?" 
That's true isn't it? Above all other things, we are supposed to love. And if that love of God is in us, then how can we be selfish and turn those away who are in need? As it states in Proverbs 28:27:
" He who gives to the poor will lack nothing, but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses."
We, as Christians are called to do the work of God. We are supposed to help those who are less fortunate, because the things that we do to them, we are doing to Christ. Scary thought, huh? But in Matthew 25:45, Jesus says,  
"‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’" 
I don't know about you, but that makes me think about things in a different way. I know if Jesus were sitting on a street corner, in rags, with an empty stomach, I would give everything that I had and more.

Why would it have to come to that? Why can't we show compassion to those, just as Christ did. Aren't we supposed to be His hands and His feet? Aren't we supposed to preach to the ends of the earth, the Good News? Aren't we supposed to love with the love that He gave?

He didn't have much, but He gave everything. Down to His very life. He was selfish with nothing. He kept nothing hidden. Yet we try to keep everything and sustain ourselves.

I know as humans, we all struggle with selfishness, but it's not just about the money. We are selfish with our talents as well. If you're great at teaching, why not share the Good News and help others receive the love of Christ? If you can sing, why not reach a crowd of people with lyrics that will fill their souls? If you are giving with your time, why not visit a hospital or nursing home and make someone smile? Each one of us, was given a gift.
Romans 12:6-8 says: We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.
What else are we selfish with? Our time. We wake up in the mornings already thinking about the things that we have to get done. We don't stop and give thanks to God for the very breath that we take. My challenge to you, and myself as well, is to wake up 10 minutes early, and spend it with God. He deserves it. Pray, read a verse, or just sit in silence and listen to Him.

Once our day gets started, it's hard to find time to think about God. I've been there. But lately, I find that if I'm not thinking about God, the things that I am thinking about are pointless. I'm thinking about my future, relationships and worrying about things, when God says:
"I know the plans that I have for you (Jeremiah 29:11)."
Give your time, your every breath, your every thought to God.

And even more than anything I just talked about (money, talents and time), I want you think about what we are most selfish with in our hearts. Our lives.

I consider myself a follower of Christ, and I've heard a lot of people use the same words. But what does that mean? It means that we are supposed to die to ourselves, each and every day.
Galatians 2:20 says, "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." 
By living our lives like Christ, selfishness won't be an issue. This is a lesson that I have to be taught every day, but it's something that I love to learn.

I don't want to be selfish. I want to give, as Christ did. I want to serve others and let the light of Jesus shine through me. I know from experience that there are many people out there today, claiming to be Christians, but the light that was in Christ, is no where to be found in them. In 2 Timothy 3:2-5, it is written:
For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

We are told to avoid these kinds of people! Their lives are spent on building up what they have, trying to make a name for themselves here on earth, but honestly, what's the point? Their name may be remembered on earth for fifteen minutes, but what good is that going to do when God turns them away? We count a lot of things here on earth as treasures, but what better treasure is there than knowing and giving the infinite love of Christ Jesus our Lord?

So I leave you with one final thought.
Matthew 6:19-21 -- Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.
Where is your treasure?



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with love.