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Sun, Nov 25, 2018

Freedom from Selfishness

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1 hr 2 mins 40 secs
The propensity to think only of ourselves is one of the causes of conflicts at family, church, and societal levels. It destroys the unity of the family, the body of Christ, and the nation. Realizing the contention that selfish attitudes cause within the church, Paul writes from prison exhorting the Philippians believers on how to combat their selfishness. In the first place, to repel a selfish spirit, we must remember the blessings we have received because of our union in Christ. One, we are to remember how Christ encourages us. Two, we are to remember how Christ embraces us. Three, we are to remember how Christ includes us. Four, we are to remember how Christ enhances us.

The propensity to think only of ourselves is one of the causes of conflicts at family, church, and societal levels. It destroys the unity of the family, the body of Christ, and the nation. Realizing the contention that selfish attitudes cause within the church, Paul writes from prison exhorting the Philippian believers on how to combat their selfishness. In the first place, to repel a selfish spirit, we must remember the blessings we have received because of our union in Christ. One, we are to remember how Christ encourages us.

Two, we are to remember how Christ embraces us. Three, we are to remember how Christ includes us. Four, we are to remember how Christ enhances us. When the trials of life burden us with a heavy load, instead of withdrawing into our own shells of self-concern, we should remember that Christ is encouraging us to continue to put Him first and to follow His plan. When we are tempted to put our interests first, we should remember that it was Christ who put our best interests before His own.

It was Christ who embraced us even while we were yet sinners. When we are compelled to think that someone is not deserving of our love, we are reminded that we were not deserving of Christ’s love, but He freely gave it. When we are tempted to promote our agenda and no one else’s, we are reminded that it was Christ who included us into His agenda. When we are tempted to allow the selfishness of our sin natures rule, we are reminded that Christ has enhanced us in such a way to be able to perform extraordinary feats of compassion.

In the second place, Paul’s says that to repel a selfish spirit, we must commit ourselves to fulfilling the joy of others. To bring the maturity that would fulfill his joy, Paul instructs these believers to make four closely related commitments. One, the church must be committed to possess the same perception. Two, the church must be committed to possess the same passion. Three, the church must be committed to possess the same principles. Four, the church must be committed to possess the same purpose. If we, as the body of Christ, are to combat selfishness, we must foster a spirit of unity.

Unity will only occur when there is a commitment to see things as God sees them (perception), to love people as God loves them (passion), to submit to others as unto the Lord (principles), and to walk in fulfillment of God’s plan (purpose). In the third place, to repel a selfish spirit, we must examine the motives behind our actions. Paul desires that each believer see themselves as a servant to the other believers, and he commands that the Philippian believers avoid certain vices. One, love must be the primary motivator for our actions.

Two, love must be the primary motivator for our attitudes. Three, love must be the primary motivator for our ambitions. Four, love must be the primary motivator for our associations. By this, he is instructing the Philippians not to be selfish. He invites them to take an active interest in the lives of each believer in order to bring benefit to the entire Christian community. This, of course, does not mean that there is to be any improper interference in the business of others, or that we are to have the character of “busy-bodies” in other people’s matters but that we are to regard with appropriate solicitude the welfare of others, and to strive to do them good.

These principles still work today. The greatest enemy to our own spiritual progress and vitality is ourselves. We are to strive to be more like Christ internally and externally, but the externals will not conform until the internal issues have been solved.

 

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