I used to preach on occasion at a local home church. Some of the messages I gave there would draw upon the powerful books found in the Old Testament, such as Leviticus and Deuteronomy. A common theme in these Old Testament books was around dealing with many kinds of skin diseases.
I wondered for some time, “why so much attention was given to skin diseases?” Then it came to me: because we have a “flesh” problem! Things have not changed to this day. If anything, it’s getting worse. In truth, we all have a flesh problem. We are surrounded by all sides with our own flesh.
If you don’t die to your flesh, then you will live for it. “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit” (Romans 8:5 NKJV).
Programs fail because they try to fix the flesh instead of killing it. “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me…” (Galatians 2:20 NKJV).
There is no greater battle we will face than that of selfishness, which is founded on the flesh and rears its ugly head in a hundred ways in our lives and our churches. Our first great deliverance is from the world. Our next greatest deliverance, should we reach it, is from self.
The only cure for the disease of selfishness is the death of self. Jesus taught, “If you truly want to follow me, you should at once completely reject and disown your own life. And you must be willing to share my cross and experience it as your own, as you continually surrender to my ways” (Matthew 16:24 TPT).
Self-centeredness is like chasing your own tail. Even if you catch it, you have gained nothing. “People should be concerned about others and not just about themselves” (1 Corinthians 10:24 NOG).
We all think of ourselves as more selfless than we really are. We consider all we do for others more than all we expect others to do for us. Even in our prayers we can be so selfish, seeking God’s favor in our own lives more than in the lives of others.
We’d be better off seeing the best in others and admitting the worst in ourselves. “Don’t act out of selfish ambition or be conceited. Instead, humbly think of others as being better than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3 GW).
Selfless prayers are the purest requests made known to God. “…pray for one another, that you may be healed…” (James 5:16 NKJV).
When you are selfish you will at most be filled with only yourself. But when you can mature in your faith having selflessness, you can be filled with God. You must learn the truth that the more you hold onto, the less God can give you, and the more you pour out, the more that God can pour in.
The more selfless you are, the more that God can fill you. “…understand what the will of the Lord is… be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:17-18 NKJV).
You can’t be filled with the Spirit of God and continue as you were before. “For the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set controlled by the Spirit finds life and peace” (Romans 8:6 TPT).
We justify selfishness with fleshly reasons and worldly ideals. We want more than we need, and so we find ourselves always empty. You cannot reach the end of selfishness because it is a pit that reaches down to the gates of hell. Selfishness is the enemy of love because it places yourself above loving others.
Love is the opposite of selfishness. “Love…does not seek its own…” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5 NKJV).
The worst thing you can do to yourself is to only think of yourself. “Where there is jealousy and selfishness, there is also disorder and every kind of evil” (James 3:16 GNT).
Your greatest battle in this world is not with those around you but that creature who stares back at you in the mirror. You cannot defeat yourself because you always end up justifying yourself. It takes the power of God to make a person, and it takes the power of God to change them.
You cannot deliver yourself because your self will conspire against you. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8 NKJV).
To die to your natural self, you need the Holy Spirit to help you. “For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Romans 8:13 NKJV).
When finally you give up yourself, you will find the gain is far greater, and the peace is all-encompassing. Your thoughts and your prayers will reach out to others, knowing that God will supply all that you need without even asking. When you are selfless, then you can be made complete because Christ can fill you.
Our spiritual potential remains buried beneath any of our natural self that we refuse to die to. “Christ died for everyone so that they would live for Him. They should not live to please themselves but for Christ Who died on a cross and was raised from the dead for them” (2 Corinthians 5:15 NLV).
Blessings to you,