Change Our Selfish Hearts
Matthew 16:24-25 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to follow Me [as My disciple], he must deny himself [set aside selfish interests], and take up his cross [expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come] and follow Me [believing in Me, conforming to My example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me]. For whoever wishes to save his life [in this world] will [eventually] lose it [through death], but whoever loses his life [in this world] for My sake will find it [that is, life with Me for all eternity]. (AMP)
Romans 12:10-11 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. (NIV)
James 4:17 If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them. (NIV)
The other day, I was reading about the importance of loving others in Rick Warren's book, The Purpose-Driven Life. He suggests praying: “God, whether I get anything else done today, I want to make sure that I spend time loving you and loving other people--because that's what life is all about. I don't want to waste this day.” (Being a champion time-waster, I definitely need to pray this daily!) The next sentence I read really hit me: “Why should God give you another day if you're going to waste it?” Ouch. That's a good question.
Somehow, I've managed to fill my spare time more with self-serving fun activities than with serving God. I'm not saying that fun and relaxation are bad necessarily; nor am I saying that I don't spend any time serving God. I'm saying too much time spent on ourselves and not enough time spent on others makes us lose sight of their needs. Sometimes I “forget” to check in with those God wants me to care for because I'm too consumed with my own fun and/or comfort. Do I actually “forget”? Sometimes, yes. But sometimes, I admit, I hear God's call, but choose to ignore it. I want to wait for a more convenient time. However...time is fleeting. The opportunity may be lost if I don't act now.
When I choose my own comfort over what God wants, the sin of selfishness rears its ugly head. It's so hard to change my selfish habits, but I want to. When He calls me, I need to trust that He has a greater purpose in mind, even though I may not understand it. If I make loving and serving Jesus most important in my heart, hopefully I'll be more willing to make sacrifices for Him--giving up my time, comfort, energy and more, for the benefit of someone else. I pray that I can: “Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.” (Ephesians 5:2)
PRAYER: Dearest Savior, forgive us when we ignore your call to show our love to others. Help us to change our selfish hearts, so we may be ready and willing to love and serve you. And thank you so much for offering yourself as the ultimate sacrifice--so we can forever live in your amazing love. Amen.
Contributed by Sharon Irvin