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Sermon 76 – Back to Basics

08 Nov

A young lady in our fellowship was clearly promoting herself and people were beginning to distance themselves from her. I spoke with her and asked her if she could see that she was being proud. She acknowledged that she knew she was. I suggested that it would be wise to stop it. She agreed. The next time I saw her she was working harder and more committed and trying as best she could to be “gooder”.

I shared with her that her strategy for removing her pride was actually cementing her pride because the motive for working harder was really to be liked again by everyone who was struggling with her pride, and also trying to avoid getting into more trouble. She wasn’t addressing her selfishness, she was reinforcing it.

Mood = selfishness

Selfishness has a mood when it doesn’t get what it wants. Selfishness turns to itself and has a mood. It rebels by trying harder to prove its worth or by running away so it doesn’t have to do it.

What I’ve discovered in my walk as a pastor is that people don’t know how to stop their pride. They’re so into the hurt feelings they can’t see that they’re actually being selfish. This young lady was hurting because a close friend had done the wrong thing by her. All she could feel was the hurt. She couldn’t see that she was having a mood because someone didn’t do what she wanted; the hurt was allowed to rule.

When I pointed out that she was having a mood, she agreed; but she couldn’t find any way to stop it. The truth is, you can stop it if you want to; so if you won’t stop your mood you’re really just showing that you’re too stubborn to give in, and you can find all the reasons to justify why you shouldn’t.

Death-to-self

When someone does something to hurt or offend you and you react with a mood; what you’re really saying is “I’m selfish; I’m not getting what I want from you.” The real purpose of the mood is to manipulate the other person to bend to your will.

If you want to stop your selfishness you have to give up what you want. God calls this ‘death-to-self’. Humanity is born selfish so it automatically protects its selfishness, and instead of dealing with its selfishness, it hides it by being ‘gooder’ … by being generous, helpful, caring, more spiritual, and smiles. That’s why good is not a sign of Christ in you; faith is the sign and nothing is good unless it flows from faith.

Faith turns to God, selfishness turns to itself

You can’t have faith by being good. You have faith by being dead to your selfishness. This is not automatic; it’s a daily fight to die to your selfishness and trust God’s plan. It’s only by daily giving up your plan and your wants, can you walk by faith.

Faith is opposite the world’s strategy. The world’s strategy is ‘dream it into being’, whereas faith gives up the dream for His plan first.

Your level of faith is proportional to your level of selfishness and your level of selflessness. You can’t be selfish and faithful at the same time; that’s a contradiction.

Why is the shield of faith the main weapon against Satan? Ephesians 6:16

You can act like you have the helmet of salvation, the belt of truth and the shoes of peace, but if you are ignorantly practicing selfishness then you don’t have the shield of faith so you are fully susceptible to the fiery darts of the enemy and your salvation is fake, your truth is a lie and your peace is for your own no-hassle prosperity.

Chain reaction

The young lady I was counselling had a valid reason to be hurting, but if she had’ve turned to God she would have seen that the person who hurt her was hurting too. They were both being selfish. Someone started the selfishness and the chain of selfishness just kept capturing more and more people into its bondage. The people that were reacting to her pride were now also caught in the trap of their own selfishness; no one was willing to die.

Telling people what to do so it suits you, is just plain selfishness.

Demanding that people act in a certain way that suits you, is just plain selfishness.

Judging people for not doing it right from your perspective, is just plain selfishness.

Happy when somebody falls off their perch, is just plain selfishness.

Doing what you’re told so you don’t get into trouble or so you look good, is just plain selfishness.

Manipulating someone so you get what you want, is just plain selfishness.

Avoiding responsibility so you have no hassles, is just plain selfishness.

Promoting yourself so you feel valued, is just plain selfishness.

Envying people for getting a better deal than you, is just plain selfishness.

Ultimately, selfishness is really just you saying “don’t tell me what to do. I’ll do it myself, my way.” If you reinforce your selfishness you will resist authority’s instructions and defy their corrections.

What’s wrong with being selfish?

It’s a fatal cocktail.

  1. It puts you in God’s position and makes you the judge of what’s fair, and what’s right and wrong.
  2. It promotes resistance to authority and thus blocks you from being corrected for your selfishness.
  3. It separates you from God.

You can talk to God and even walk with God, like Adam and Eve, like Balaam and like Samson, but you can’t be saved for heaven until you give up your selfishness and let God genuinely have His way.

If you want to be free, you have to give up your selfishness, not try harder. To try harder is just more of your selfishness. If you want to give up your selfishness you have to genuinely give up what you want and trust God’s plan.

 

Pastor Brian Gordon

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Posted by on November 8, 2014 in Selfishness

 

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