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– Understanding Selfishness

– What does the Bible say about selfishness

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If I am selfish I might have achieved great things,

but achieving great things out of my selfishness

is one of the most devastating ways I can think of to fail.

Craig D. Lounsbrough

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Almost every sinful action ever committed can be traced back to a selfish motive.

It is a trait we hate in others but justified in ourselves.

Stephen Kendrick

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As selfishness and complaint pervert the mind,

so love with its joy clears and sharpens the vision.

Helen Keller

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If selfishness is the key to being miserable, then selflessness must be the key to being happy!

Joyce Meyer

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 “Selfishness is when you only remember a friend if you need something from them.”

— Unknown

This YouTube Video is 5: 24minutes in length, below is the transcript)

we all know people who are selfish and self-centred

and we’re we’re that way ourselves more often than we like

one of the bitter by products of selfishness is that it undermines rich and satisfying relationships

so let’s take a biblical look at selfishness to try to understand this from God’s perspective

the first thing that we see is that

selfishness is that the root of sin

selfishness is at the heart of the Fallen human condition

ever since Adam and Eve we’ve been asserting ourselves

we’ve asserted that we know better than God

that we elevate what we think is right

and what we think is best

ahead of what God thinks and

whenever we break God’s law

essentially we’replacing our desires and our will

ahead of or prior to God’s will

and that in fact is the essence of sin

when we make ourselves rather than God the ultimate frame of reference for life

now that carries over into relationships as well

because it happens selfishness says that you know

we’re more important than other people

that we elevate ourselves to the ultimate point of reference with respect to those relationships

so we make our will

our opinions

our feelings

our comfort

our needs

our desires

we make them more important than the thoughts and opinions

the needs of the people around us and

that’s how selfishness becomes at the heart and the essence of sin

now there’s a lot of different words that describe selfishness

the English language has many different words for selfishness and

I think that testifies to the universal scope of this problem

just think in English we talk

about being arrogant

about being vain


about being self-centered


being proud

being hard-headed


about being self-possessed

about being conceited

an egomaniac



of being boasting and

self-indulgent and

preoccupied with self

in so many different words that we use

now each one of those words has a different nuance

but they all point to this

of being absorbed with self

now the

Bible also has a lot of different words and

constructions that talk about this problem

it talks about being


it talks about selfish ambition and

vain conceit

the Bible warns about being a lovers of ourselves and

pleasing ourselves

it talks about being self-seeking

or about seeking our own good

now when the Bible uses these different phrases

it never uses them in a positive way but

always as a by way of warning us and so with all these different vocabulary

it’s not surprising that selfishness takes shape in so many different ways

now we’re all familiar with people who are overtly selfish

they may

be rude

or pushy

or be very assertive about getting what they want

but others of us are more refined in our selfishness

we might be much more subtle about it and

use techniques

like guilt

or peer pressure

we might try to maneuver a situation to make it turn out the way we want it to turn out and

selfishness isn’t just about actions

it can be about what we don’t do

like leaving the dishes for somebody else to clean up

it can also be about our words like

when you say words without thinking about how they might affect the people who hear them

or like when you talk too much

or selfishness can also be about attitudes

maybe you give way to let somebody else have their way

but then you’re bitter and resentful

about it iny our heart

or maybe-you know-you don’t

when somebody else gets their way or

somebody else gets recognition then you get a bitter about that

you get pout

or you whine about that

you know

even people who serve can be infected with selfishness

sometimes our service is to draw attention to ourselves

or to make ourselves seem significant or

or people

to take-to take note of us

you know

even when you aren’t overtly trying to elevate yourself

then another form of selfishness

maybe just talking a lot about your own pain

or your own troubles

and so there’s a lot of different ways that we can be selfish that might seem good on the outside

but even doing good things can be tainted by the motive of selfishness

even when your serving and helping and investing time and energy

there can also be this subtle thing that that creeps in about being aware of how people notice you

or hoping you get attention

or hoping you get a favor for what you’ve done and so

I want us to be aware of selfishness in ourlives

I want us to be honest about looking in the mirror to see the different ways that we’re selfish

inside and out

because only then

can we allow the Holy Spirit to come and

bring the redemptive power of Jesus into our lives and into our hearts

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(This YouTube Video is 4:46 minutes in length, below is the transcript)

Turn my heart toward your statutes
    and not toward selfish gain.

Psalm 119:36

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Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. 

Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 

not looking to your own interests

but each of you to the interests of the others.

Philippians 2:3-4

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No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.

1 Corinthians 10:24

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For where you have envy and selfish ambition, 

there you find disorder and every evil practice.

James 3:16

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If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need

but has no pity on them, 

how can the love of God be in that person?

1 John 3:17

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 For everyone looks out for their own interests, 

not those of Jesus Christ.

Philippians 2:21

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What causes fights and quarrels among you?

Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?  

You desire but do not have, so you kill. 

You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight.

You do not have because you do not ask God. 

When you ask,

you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, 

that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

James 4:1-3

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 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, 

for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

Hebrews 13:16

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But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, 

there will be wrath and anger.

Romans 2:8

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Those who give to the poor will lack nothing,
    but those who close their eyes to them receive many curses.

Proverbs 28:27

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Do you see a person wise in their own eyes?
    There is more hope for a fool than for them.

Proverbs 26:12

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Woe to those who call evil good
    and good evil,
who put darkness for light
    and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
    and sweet for bitter.

Isaiah 5:20

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Jesus answered, 

“If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, 

and you will have treasure in heaven. 

Then come, follow me.”

When the young man heard this,

he went away sad, because he had great wealth.

Matthew 19:21-22

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The second is this:

‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

There is no commandment greater than these.”

Mark 12:31

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So God said to him,

“Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself,

nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, 

I will do what you have asked. 

I will give you a wise and discerning heart,

so that there will never have been anyone like you,

nor will there ever be.

1 Kings 3:11-12

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For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, 

that though he was rich,

yet for your sake he became poor, 

so that you through his poverty might become rich.

2 Corinthians 8:9

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Let us not become conceited,

 provoking and envying each other.

Galatians 5:26

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If one of you says to them,

“Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,”

but does nothing about their physical needs,

what good is it?

James 2:16

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