SELFISHNESS: THE OPPOSITE OF LOVE
By W. G. Guy
It is time for Christians to obey the command of God and stop living according to the dictates of the flesh and of much of what is taught by man’s various beliefs in so many of today’s churches.
Selfishness defined: being overly concerned with one’s own interests, etc. and having little or no concern for others. Whereas Love, as defined by Jesus, is desiring the best for another, even at one’s own expense. Love focuses on the needs of others.
John 15:12-13 – This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
Selfishness seeks its own fulfillment, even at the expense of others; thus it is just the opposite of the God ordained kind of love which seeks to benefit others.
1Peter 4:8 – And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.
For years this writer often wondered how does love (charity) cover the multitude of sins. Finally I have come to understand that if I live by God’s command to love others then I will not sin against them; thus love covers or overcomes the sinful behavior that the self or old selfish nature normally motivates people. God, in His wisdom, has ordained and commanded that love be the principle in the lives of His people.
Matthew 22:37-40 – Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
It is necessary to understand that selfishness TAKES, whereas love GIVES, which is why “charity” is used for love in the Bible’s love chapter.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 – Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
If everyone loved as God commanded then there would be no wars, no crime, no evil, and no sin; sounds almost like being in heaven doesn’t it. Well that is why God ordained His people to love – it is the foundation of the kingdom of God. Those who do not have God’s love in them toward others are not fit for Heaven or His kingdom.
As the Bible states, these kind will not enter into the kingdom of God – they just are not fit.
Galatians 5:19-21 – Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
The Christian life here and now is to prepare us to rule and reign with Him in His kingdom. We are to walk in love, which is the first and primary Fruit of the Spirit.
Galatians 5:22-24 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
We are to die to “self” which refers to the flesh, or carnal nature, and live by the leading and direction of the Holy Spirit; by love. Remember that love is giving for the benefit others, even at your own expense – (John 15:13 above). The opposite of love is selfishness, desiring to get or take, even at the expense of others.
Romans 13:8-10 – Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
Selfishness, therefore can be considered to be the root of all sin, evil and trouble among mankind.
1 John 2:15-17 – Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
All that is in the world, (which refers to the social order of mankind), is lust of the eye, lust of the flesh, and the pride of life, all of which are traits of base human behavior which are vulnerable to temptation by the devil. Thus these three can be identified as “I want”, “I will” and “I am”. These three can also be summed up in one human trait – SELFISHNESS.
Christian life is to emulate Jesus Christ, having His character and nature manifest in us, (also known as the Fruit of the Spirit as listed in Galatians 5:22-23). This is also way so much emphasis in the New Testament is placed on love. It is helpful to notice that Jesus was “selfless”.
Selfless defined: devoted to others welfare; unselfish.
Jesus did nothing for Himself, but all that has been recorded of Him shows He did everything for the benefit of others as our example of how to live. To truly be Christians we are to act like Christ and live as He did. This requires that we put off the old nature (the flesh also called the “old man”, and put on the nature of Christ).
Ephesians 4:20-24 – But ye have not so learned Christ; if so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: that ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
Remember, love “gives” (charity) and selfishness “takes” (for the gain of self). It is high time for Christians to start walking in obedience to God’s commands for His people and die to “self” and walk in love.
Luke 9:23-25 – And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?
Love is the means of identification that marks the children of God.
1 John 3:10-11 – In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.
Selfishness is the behavior of the world. Love/charity is to be the behavior of the children of God, and in the kingdom of God. Here is the conclusion to the whole matter:
1 John 4:6-11, & 16-21 – We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. …. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.
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Suggested reading Colossians 3