“Its mine! Give it back!” How many of us have heard this from children before? Some of us will say, “oh that’s kids being kids”. It is? If you were to think about it, you would realize that one of the biggest things we have to overcome is selfishness. It’s in our very nature. There are many of us who never grew out of this phase, we just learned to mask it, or let it take on new faces, but the root is still the same: selfishness. What’s the most popular thing to do with a cell phone? Take a selfie! This seems to show what the most important thing in people’s lives is: ME!
So as we ponder these things, we have to ask ourselves a question, “are we selfish?” Now, don’t go raising your hand as you read this, but I can’t just ask that question without walking together through the scripture to see what it says.
I read this quote on a website somewhere: “Being selfish is that attitude of being concerned with one’s own interests above the interests of others”
That really seems quite accurate to me to what being selfish means. The real question is what does the scripture say? So before we do, let’s find out what the original languages say about the word selfish:
Let’ read Phil 2:3-4
3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Ambition, One’s own gain
Thayers: Spinner, weaver, one’s own gain
Equivalent to contending against God
Now for the Hebrew word used for selfish, within the Hey section of Psalm 119:
33 Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes; and I will keep it to the end.
34 Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart. 35 Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it.
36 Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain! 37 Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways. 38 Confirm to your servant your promise, that you may be feared. 39 Turn away the reproach that I dread, for your rules are good. 40 Behold, I long for your precepts; in your righteousness give me life!
H1215: Gain made by Violence, Unjust profit
“The taking of money or something of value through force” -Jeff Benner
So we see what being selfish means in Hebrew/Greek and we have begun to reflect on our own lives. We have to remember that following the Torah of YHVH is the opposite of being selfish. We put aside what we want, how we like to do things and we replace it with HIS way. That is the most important thing in our lives. At times that means putting aside our own desires. Men, that means putting our family before ourselves, serving our wives and our children, loving them without them needing to merit it. It means that they don’t have to EARN your love; they don’t have to do anything for you to show affection.
Our Messiah led as a servant, so should we.
I have arranged scriptures into 3 buckets: examples of selfishness, examples from Messiah, and scriptural warnings. We are going to let the scripture speak for itself. I would encourage you to take your time and prayerfully go through each verse. Get a notebook and write things down. Let YHVH stir your heart. Let him be the one to convict and restore. Be blessed my brothers and sisters.
Examples of selfishness:
Examples from Messiah
|2 Corinthians 5:15|
|2 Corinthians 12:20||Matthew 23:25|
|2 Timothy 3:1-5||Philippians 2:3-4|
|Ephesians 4:29||Proverbs 18:1|
|Galatians 5:19-21||Proverbs 23:7|
|James 3:14-16||Psalm 119:36|
|Jeremiah 45:5||Romans 13:8-10|
|Luke 16:13||Romans 2:8|
|1 Corinthians 13:1-13|