Self-serving vs Serving others
It seems that a lot of churches and “Christian” related ministries today are really intent on encouraging people towards self-improvement to the point where it is really out of balance with what the Bible calls for.
Here are some thoughts regarding people focusing so much on themselves. First, it encourages narcissism which is just a fancy pseudo-psychological word for selfishness or ‘me-ism’ which is the fundamental building block of humanism. Humanism is the notion that the end of all being is the happiness of man. True biblical Christianity teaches that the end of all being is the glory of God.
Its ok to build a person up, in fact we are called to edify one another but when you stop at that you fail to give the person the real support and tools they need in this life.
God wants us to help build up others to be disciples who will then be eager to disciple others as well instead of encouraging self-serving individuals. Selfishness is a sinful addiction. Repenting of any sinful addiction is very important no doubt but transferring that addiction to one’s self in the form of self-absorption is just as destructive, if not more destructive.
Selfishness is contrary to what God’s word teaches us. We are told to be selfless, to die to self. Essentially God wants us to have a desire to serve others over ourselves throughout this life. If we stop focusing on feeding our carnal selves and instead turn our focus towards pleasing God through serving others then we are where God originally intended us to be. We would be what God created us to do.
Jesus served as the perfect example:
And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. Mark 10:44-45
It is sad that in today’s Christian circles people use the excuse of “Christian Liberty” to justify self-serving pleasure seeking where God’s Word tells us that liberty for the Christian instead means that we have liberty to serve God and others. Liberty was not given to us by God to be used as a self-serving tool but instead it is intended to be focused outwardly, towards others.
For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. Galatians 5:13
As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.1 Peter 2:16
It makes sense from a Biblical perspective that we should encourage fellowship and strive to yoke ourselves together in service towards others and God as we know that two is indeed always better than one and a three stranded cord is not easily broken. That’s when you have more than one believer with you, together with Jesus, serving others.
You + me + Jesus = unbreakable
Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25
This entire idea is really summed up in the principle and practice of discipleship. We are called to disciple others and each other. This is through a consistent process of teaching and edifying one another. There is not enough of this in the church today and it is no wonder that more and more individual Christians are literally dying as their churches continue to have them focus on themselves instead of each other…
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. Matthew 28:19-20
Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do. 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church…How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying. 1 Corinthians 14:12 and 26
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. Ephesians 4:11-16