Selfishness 


Selfishness can be a very subtle thing. It can manifest itself in many ways, although the one acting selfish may not realize what they’re doing.

Some ways it may appear are-

  1. The need to be seen – the center of attention
  2. Manipulation
  3. Depression, pouting, anger, mood swings, etc.
  4. Monopolizing a conversation
  5. Interrupting someone else’s conversation
  6. Overachieving

Something I witnessed about myself the other day.

At a funeral, of all places. 

Sitting in the sanctuary, waiting for the service to begin, I saw a number of fellow ministers in attendance. Sometimes, I’m ashamed to admit, I feel out of place, unknown and overlooked, and desperately in need of some kind of recognition. 

Is it wrong to want to be liked? 

No. 

But as I got out of my seat to greet a minister I knew (though not very well – I had to remind him of my name), I sensed the Holy Spirit speak to my heart about selfishness. 

In other words, my act of greeting was more about me than him. It was about being seen with a well known minister. It wasn’t about my investing anything in the other person’s life, but trying to look important by association. 

Selfishness.

Ugly, worldly, selfishness.

Oh, what can be done about such an ugly thing?

First, I needed to acknowledge it as sin, whether anyone else noticed it or not. God knew it, and now I do.

“For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.” (Romans 12:3 ESV)

Second, I must stay on guard against such desires. One of the best ways is to remind myself who God has made me, in Christ. 

I’m not inferior, or superior for that matter. I am me. I was created on purpose, for a purpose. I belong to God, and He is the Lord of my life. 

In the above scripture, sober judgment can refer to being honest with myself, God, and others. I should find out what God has done, is doing, and has promised to do in me and get busy with that.

“Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:” (2 Peter 1:1 ESV)

See, Peter wrote to people who had obtained a faith of equal standing with himself. Really? Faith as important and potentially powerful as Peter’s? Yes!

It’s something God has done for every one of us, through Christ Jesus our Lord.

Third, selfishness cannot manifest itself if I’m concerned about how to make others feel encouraged, important, and edified. If I’m not adding to a relationship, at least desiring to, then I’m probably taking from it. 

In a word? Selfishness.

I’m working on it, though I’m certain I haven’t mastered it yet. 

How about YOU? Do YOU recognize a bit of selfishness showing in YOUR life?

If so, what are you going to do about it?

It’s the little, insignificant things in our lives that determine the kind of person we are. 

Are You “Damaged Goods”?


What does it take to push someone over the edge? How much stress can a person take before they snap? Is it a sin to have a mental breakdown?

How long must a person be subjected to abuse before they become damaged goods?

Can a person who’s snapped, gone over the edge, and become damaged goods ever find true freedom and solace; safe from the long reaching arms of their abuser?

I should probably interject something here, as a point of clarification. Abusers (I’m referring to people who damage others either physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually) aren’t necessarily demon possessed, but they ARE allowing themselves to be used by the devil. 
He is a murderer, thief, killer, and destroyer. 

And he uses people to get his junk accomplished. 
I wondered these things while reading the gospel of Mark. 

“They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones.” (Mark 5:1 – 5:5 ESV)

A wild man. A mad man. Why? How? I don’t know, because the narrative doesn’t go there. 

But it COULD be due to how he was raised, what he was subjected to, or something else involving people from his past. Maybe he allowed hatred and bitterness to fester and grow in his heart until he completely yielded to the powers of darkness. 

I don’t know. 

I do know he was damaged. 

Damaged goods. Not a very nice description, is it? But what does it mean or how does it happen?

I’m really going to simplify things here and answer with three words. 

People hurting people. 

People, for whatever reason, sometimes hurt others. Allow the hurt to continue, and more damage is done. Eventually, if not helped, and the hurt is reinforced with more hurtful actions and words, the person can become so damaged they are beyond anyone’s ability to help them heal.

But not beyond God’s ability to save, heal, and deliver. 

Jesus changed the man’s life by releasing him from the things tormenting him. He didn’t erase the man’s past, but he did disable the power of the past. 

And isn’t it odd how the ones who knew the “crazy” man seemed to have preferred he remain in that condition instead of enjoying true freedom?

The herdsmen fled and told it in the city and in the country. And people came to see what it was that had happened. And they came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man, the one who had had the legion, sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. And those who had seen it described to them what had happened to the demon-possessed man and to the pigs. And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their region (Mark 5:14 – 5:17 ESV)

That’s what makes me think they were part of the problem in the first place.

The madman in Mark five is, to me, a picture of damaged goods coming in contact with the Lover of the soul. No matter how bad things had become for the man, hurt and total hopelessness met its match that day on the Galilean seashore.

And that’s one huge reason why I love the Lord! He took a damaged person (me) and delivered my life from destruction. 

How about you?

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” (Psalm 103:1 – 103:5 ESV)
 

Spiritual Pimples

I was chatting with a guy the other day, talking about how we sometimes allow things, situations, and, of course, people the opportunity to offend us. 

Sometimes we let the wrong things get under our skin. We hang on to them until they begin poisoning our system. 
Kind of like pimples.

Pimples are indicators of more serious problems.

What should we do? When we see it for what it truly is (or when it finally comes to a head) we should squeeze it until the blood flows. The flow of blood helps cleanse the wound (as Jesus’ blood cleanses all our sin).

It helps get the poison out of our system. 

As you may have figured out, it’s much better to never allow offenses to get under our skin. That being said, it is imperative we continuously wash ourselves in the water of God’s Word. It’s also important to be in close fellowship with other believers who may help keep the wrong things from getting under our skin by watching for areas in our life where an infection could be setting in. 

Spiritual pimples are indicators of a more serious problem…

…a poisoned soul.

…an offended heart.

…a victim mentality.

…a joyless existence.

“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:31 – 4:32 ESV)

“Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.” (Hebrews 12:14 – 12:15 ESV)