Are you a selfish Christian? That's a strange question to ask a Christian because we know that we are to love because God is love.
1 John 4:7-12 (NLT)7 Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God.8 But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.9 God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him.10 This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.11 Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.12 No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.
Love was so important to Jesus that he asked Peter if he loved Him three times, and this after Peter denied that he even knew Jesus.
John 21:15-17 (NLT)15 After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.” “Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him.16 Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?” “Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.” “Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said.17 A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep. (Bold mine)
We are commanded to love God above any and everything.
Matthew 22:36-38 (NLT)36 “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’38 This is the first and greatest commandment.
“In other words, you shall love God with everything you have and everything your are. Everything. Every longing, every endowment, each of your intellectual gifts, any athletic talent or computer skill, all capacity for delight, every good thing that has your fingerprints on it - take all this, says Jesus and refer it to God. Take your longing, and long for God, take your creaturely riches, and endow God’ take your eye for beauty and appreciate God. With our heart and soul and mind, with all your needs and splendors, make a full turn toward God. - Philip Yancey Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference
In Paul’s wonderful and detailed description he writes that one of the things that love is not is selfish.
1 Corinthians 13:5-7 New Century Version (NCV) 5 Love is not rude, is not selfish, and does not get upset with others. Love does not count up wrongs that have been done. 6 Love takes no pleasure in evil but rejoices over the truth. 7 Love patiently accepts all things. It always trusts, always hopes, and always endures. (Bold mine)
Selfishness is being concerned with your own interests above those of others. The Bible commands us to be more concerned for others than ourselves.
Philippians 2:3-4 (NLT)3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.
That begs the the question that’s the title of this post "Are You A Selfish Christian”?. Do you love Jesus just for what you can get from him.?
Dr. Charles Stanley wrote a very provoking devotion on selfish Christianity. The kind of Christianity that looks to self more than to Jesus. This is the kind of Christianity that Jesus talked about when He said , “I tell you the truth, you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs” (John 6:26).
Which interests you more—who Jesus is or what He can do for you? I’m afraid that too many of us are more concerned about what He can give us than we are about getting to know who He is.
But this is nothing new—Jesus had this problem when He walked on earth. The crowds often sought Him out for what He could do for them. Even though their needs were quite often legitimate, Christ knew their motives.
John 6:22-27 (NLT)22 The next day the crowd that had stayed on the far shore saw that the disciples had taken the only boat, and they realized Jesus had not gone with them.
23 Several boats from Tiberias landed near the place where the Lord had blessed the bread and the people had eaten.24 So when the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and went across to Capernaum to look for him.25 They found him on the other side of the lake and asked, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”26 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs.27 But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you. For God the Father has given me the seal of his approval.” (Bold mine)
There is a fine line between selfishly trying to use the Lord to get what we want and humbly coming to Him with our needs and struggles. Some of the issues we bring to Him are so pressing and urgent in our minds that our desire for Him to take action in the way we want becomes greater than our willingness to submit to His will. At times, what we call “faith” is really a demanding spirit.
We must remember that our needs will come to an end, but Jesus Christ will remain forever. If our prayers have dealt only with presenting our requests to the Lord, we’ve missed a great opportunity to get to know the One with whom we’ll spend eternity. Let’s invest time in pursuing intimacy with Christ. Then we can enjoy the benefits of that relationship forever.
How much of your communion with God is devoted to your needs—even legitimate ones? Are you spending any time getting to know the Lord? Although God delights in our prayers and tells us to pray about everything, He also wants us to come to Him just because we enjoy being with Him.
Used with permission from In Touch Ministries, Inc. © 2016 All Rights Reserved.
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Donald Jacobs is an ordained minister with the spiritual gift of teaching. He is the Associate Pastor of a non-denominational church in Los Angeles, CA.