It’s Rooted in Selfishness

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings: Psalm 68-69; Romans 8:1-21

So now there isn’t any condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. God has done what was impossible for the Law, since it was weak because of selfishness. God condemned sin in the body by sending his own Son to deal with sin in the same body as humans, who are controlled by sin. He did this so that the righteous requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us. Now the way we live is based on the Spirit, not based on selfishness. People whose lives are based on selfishness think about selfish things, but people whose lives are based on the Spirit think about things that are related to the Spirit.The attitude that comes from selfishness leads to death, but the attitude that comes from the Spirit leads to life and peace. So the attitude that comes from selfishness is hostile to God. It doesn’t submit to God’s Law, because it can’t. People who are self-centered aren’t able to please God.

But you aren’t self-centered. Instead you are in the Spirit, if in fact God’s Spirit lives in you. If anyone doesn’t have the Spirit of Christ, they don’t belong to him. 10 If Christ is in you, the Spirit is your life because of God’s righteousness, but the body is dead because of sin. 11 If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your human bodies also, through his Spirit that lives in you.

12 So then, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation, but it isn’t an obligation to ourselves to live our lives on the basis of selfishness. 13 If you live on the basis of selfishness, you are going to die. But if by the Spirit you put to death the actions of the body, you will live. 14 All who are led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons and daughters. 15 You didn’t receive a spirit of slavery to lead you back again into fear, but you received a Spirit that shows you are adopted as his children. With this Spirit, we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The same Spirit agrees with our spirit, that we are God’s children. 17 But if we are children, we are also heirs. We are God’s heirs and fellow heirs with Christ, if we really suffer with him so that we can also be glorified with him.  (Romans 8:1-17, Common English Bible)

When I read the early part of Romans I am reminded about everything I was ever told when I was a kid. “When you are selfish no one will like you.” “People who are selfish have bad things happen to them.” “When you are selfish, you make God sad.”

All of them are true, even if they sound a bit juvenile. And no, I am not saying Paul is juvenile. What I am saying is, when we act in ways that are selfish we make it difficult for the spirit of God to dwell in us.

Once a hunter walking through the wilderness picked up some pretty stones by a river. He took the stones and one by one, used them to shoot at the birds on the river with his slingshot. Whether he hit a bird or not, each stone dropped, and disappeared into the water, forever lost until finally only a single stone remained. He dropped it in his pocket.

Sometime later, the man was walking down the street in the city and wandering absentmindedly, tossing and catching the single stone he had left. The stone caught the eye of a local jeweler who marveled at the beauty of this precious gem. He immediately recognized the stone and offered to buy it for several thousand dollars. When the hunter recognized the value of his stone, he cried out: “How could I be so stupid! I carelessly shot gems into the river for a few minutes of useless joy. I could have not only become wealthy, I could have helped many people too. But thank God I have saved at least this one.”

Every day of our lives is like a precious stone. Each of us has most likely wasted countless days in selfish attempts to bring ourselves joy. Those gems are now lost in the depths of the past. May we all now see the value of the stones remaining, using them to acquire spiritual wealth we can share with others. If we use them in selfless ways, we use them to serve God. Selfishness then, is no longer part of our lives as we live with joy in our hearts.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

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