In this article we are going to study the problems of self. We will see not only the reality but also the magnitude of the problem -- how selfishness can cost us our eternal soul. We will note several Biblical examples of selfish people who illustrate the characteristics and consequences of an improper attitude toward self. We will cite several problems one can expect to have if he is egotistical and self-centered. This article will offer some practical suggestions on how to solve the problem of self.
Let us turn our attention to the Scriptural examples of selfless people. These were individuals who had a proper perspective on self and others. In each example, the one who manifested selflessness was blessed by the God of heaven.
Abraham (Genesis 13). When the flocks and herds of Abraham and Lot became too large for them to live at the same location, instead of telling his nephew where he could locate, Abraham, acting with regard for others before regard for self, told Lot to choose wherever he wanted to live. Given the fact that he was older, that Lot probably owed his wealth to him and that God had said all the land was his, Abraham could have rationalized that he should make the choice. Instead, he selflessly deferred to Lot. Because of it, Abraham was greatly blessed.
Joseph (Genesis 45). Even though his brothers had sold him into slavery, when they came to Egypt seeking food, he forgave them and then helped them. If he had been selfish, he could have demanded his brothers be punished, or maybe even put to death. Rather, he did what was best for them.
The Good Samaritan (Luke 10). Unlike those who were outwardly pious, he took the time to help a person in need using his own resources and time to gain no advantage for self but only to help a person who needed help.
Barnabas (Acts 4). He saw the needs of his brethren so he sold his land, gave all the money to the Lord's cause so that those in need might have relief.
Paul (Galatians 2:20). Paul selflessly gave himself to the Lord setting an example for all those who would be the kind of disciples the Lord wants.
Jesus. The Son of God selflessly left heaven and came to this world to give Himself as a sacrifice for man's sins (Phil. 2:1-8). He had no selfish motives in His actions.
We cite Galatians 2:20 where the apostle Paul said he was no longer living, but that Christ was living in him. What this means is that he had selflessly given control of his life over to Christ and became obedient to Jesus in all things. We can, and must, do the same. Putting self to death is accomplished by:
Self-denial (Matt. 16:24; Luke 9:23). One denies self by esteeming others better than self (Phil. 2:3; John 13:3-17) and humbling oneself before God (1 Pet. 5:6).
Self-control (Prov. 16:32; Gal. 5:23; 2 Pet. 1:6). One who exercises proper self-control is one who brings every thought and action into conformity with the will of God.
Self-sacrifice (2 Cor. 8:5; Rom. 12:1-2). Christians are to be "living sacrifices" unto God-living each day to accomplish the good works for which they were created so that Father and Son might be glorified in them.