So I think my husband and I have a great “working” relationship.
He teaches an adult Sunday School class at our church. Occasionally he’ll use a point or illustration from my blog in his lesson. Sometimes I’ll take a truth I’ve learned from his Sunday School lesson and write about it on the blog.
We’ve been studying Jonah recently. Our last Sunday School lesson touched on Jonah’s self-centeredness. The prophet Jonah had little compassion for anyone else. His focus was on following his own plan rather than going where God directed. Jonah, himself a recipient of God’s mercy, didn’t care about that mercy being shown to the people of Nineveh.
As I listened on Sunday, I didn’t need anyone to point out to me that I’ve been self-centered lately. I knew it. I’ve been complaining and feeling sorry for myself. Ever been there?
When we’ve been saved for awhile, I think we usually know when sin in our life needs to be dealt with. Typically, we know what to do about it. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy.
For example, I know that to combat my self-centeredness, I need to ask for God’s forgiveness and for the Holy Spirit’s help to overcome it.
My next step is to actively look for ways to serve others. That’s the best way to get over myself.
Philippians 2:3 says it pretty succinctly.
“Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.”
Or we can boil it down to the second greatest commandment, love your neighbor as yourself.
My self-focus will diminish if I turn my thoughts to giving to others. In this case, we’re not talking about money. Rather, there are more valuable things I can give away today that will bless those around me – and, in turn, help loosen the grip selfishness has had on me.
I can give…
1. …time to those things in my day that are most important in view of eternity. I’ll make it a priority to read my Bible, pray, etc.
2. …kind words to my family. That means thinking before I speak.
3. …smiles to people I come in contact with all through the day. I want to show them the joy that Christ gives.
4. …thoughtful gestures to my husband. I’ll think of ways, no matter how small, that I can bless him.
5. …encouragement to a fellow believer. Maybe it’s a phone call, a text, or a handwritten note that can bless a friend who’s struggling.
6. …thanks in each situation. The Bible tells me that’s the will of God for me.
7. …attention to what is going on at the moment. I won’t be distracted, but will give the person in front of me my full attention.
8. …the benefit of the doubt to someone when I don’t understand what’s going on. I won’t easily take offense or jump to conclusions about why they acted a certain way.
9. …appreciation to people who help and serve me. I don’t ever want entitlement to creep in!
10. …remembrance to needs people have asked me to pray for. Then I can follow up with them and find out how God has been faithful to work in their lives.
My natural bent is to be self-centered, but God’s Holy Spirit can empower me to be others-focused.
Since I’ve been dealing with a bout of selfishness lately, I hope that giving some of these things away will get me headed in a better direction!