Wrestle Selfishness Into Submission
I’d like to say that selfishness is the antithesis to servanthood but that would be dangerously incorrect. The truth is that even in our selfishness, we are serving. Serving, in and of itself is actually neutral. It’s neither necessarily good or bad. The determining factor is in what, or who we are serving.
Before I became a #Trainsformer I was a train performer
One afternoon I was stopped by two police officers (for rapping on the train) and escorted off the train for questioning. When they “ran my name” (whatever that means) it turned out that I had an outstanding warrant! Apparently “warrants” don’t exactly warrant an explanation, because the cops could not tell me what the warrant was for, only that I was under arrest. Eventually after several hours in a prison cell I learned that the warrant was for an unpaid ticket on a car that I had previously owned- totaled- well, both. When I finally saw the judge he very graciously let me go with just a warning. Fortunately, that’s the extent of my prison (or jail) experience. Few of us have ever served time in a prison cell. Most of us have served plenty of time (even a lifetime) in the prison self.
Human beings are innately selfish
If you’re a parent you need no further convincing of this terrible truth. Is there anything more exhausting than teaching children to share? Ironically, soon as it seems like the baby goats finally get it, they’re grown; and we all know that although selfishness in children is frowned upon, in adults, it’s celebrated. We try and cover it up with words like ambition, drive, personal and mental health or wellness, dreams, and work. We even trick ourselves into believing that our selfishness actually benefits others. How crazy is that? As if putting ourselves first, and others last, somehow better equips us to… I don’t know, help the people in last place later? The sooner we recognize our own selfishness, the sooner we can begin to wrestle it into submission for the sake of serving God and man. Our natural instinct is rarely (if ever at all) to think of others first. It is more often to think of ourselves first. This is a dangerous, lonely, and unfulfilling way to be. Jesus said whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves, pick up their cross and follow me. You won’t find that in any self-help books. It’s a heavenly principle, a Godly concept; an ordinance taught in an upside down kingdom where the only way up is down. Jesus, the son of God, came from heaven (above) to earth (below) and humbled himself not only to the form of a man, but to the form of a servant. Not only to the form of a servant, but a suffering servant. He was obedient unto death; and not just any death, but death on a cross! As a result, Jesus has been exalted to the highest place and given a name above all names. Do you see the progression? So, in a wrestling match an opponent defeated by way of submission lives to fight another day. Unfortunately our selfishness is just the same. We must, even daily, wrestle that selfish insatiable sumo within us into submission. How?
Recognize, resist, and replace.
Recognize that you, just like every other human being on the planet live in a flawed world, and that you were born with a sinful nature. Although you are spiritually born again when you place your faith in Jesus, your humanity (this side of eternity) remains resistant to the things of God and must become subservient to your Spirit. Resist the evil without and the evil within. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that evil is only on the outside. Jesus said that it is what comes out of a person (from within) that defiles them. Resist every inclination that is contrary to the word of God. Finally, replace that foul thing you readily recognize and resist with it’s ultimate antithesis, that is, the fruit of the Spirit. Love, joy, peace, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, goodness, patience, and self control. This fruit is the sweet nourishing sustenance that satisfies my formerly sick but now submitted soul. Pursue intimacy with God through Jesus Christ; deny yourself and follow the savior instead. Let the meditation and application of God’s word, work in you a selfless servanthood.
Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.