We all have a disease. In every part of the globe, in every class of society, the disease of selfishness has infiltrated and wreaked havoc. We can’t escape the day without desiring something for ourselves.
Looking at some newspaper headlines before the start of the year, selfishness was a common theme. One energy company admits to duping customers with cheap rates on sign up only to raise them without warning a few months later. A Hollywood star speaks of being objectified when she was a teenager. A shoplifting syndicate which has been disrupted by police.
But this selfishness isn’t only in the world ‘out there.’ It is in the church, threatening to tear it apart. Consider James 4:1-2 – ‘What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel.’
These are words to Christians! And they are a warning we must heed if we want to honour Christ. If we want to be friends with the world, desiring what they desire, we make ourselves enemies of God (Jas 4:4). How can we represent Christ to a fallen world if we are focussed on ourselves – our own reputation, our own preferences?
Jesus calls us to be united together in love. The gospel is to transform us that we no longer listen to selfish desires, but eagerly desire the good for others. Rather than taking, we give. Instead of harbouring grudges, we forgive. We seek to imitate the one who had the glories of heaven but left it for us; who was reviled on the cross but prayed for their forgiveness.
Let’s put selfishness to death, and love one another in 2019.