it’s human nature to be focused on self, look out for #1, preserve the importance of one’s own interests; however you want to call it. i’m a firm believer in jesus’s call to serve others (“washing their feet”) and paul’s admonishment for the body of christ to esteem the needs of others above your own (philippians 2:3-4). and for quite some time, i’ve made it a point to meditate on and consider these requirements, and attempt to fashion my life according to them in an effort to look more like christ. i’m starting to think i’ve been going about it the wrong way.
i’m coming to realize that the opposite of selfishness is not selflessness; rather it’s christ-centeredness (sp?). if i am making an effort to not be self-centered, or to be more selfless, the focus is really still about me. the gage is measured by how much i do or do not focus on self. so even the very measure is centered on me. true selflessness cannot just be the absence of focus on oneself, it has to be complete focus and devotion to another entity. if you are TRULY selfless, it is only because you are so centered on something else that you, your desires, your goals and missions and ambitions dont even matter to yourself.
so there really is no more thinking, “i’ve got to stop being so self-centered” (i’m still thinking about how much i do or dont focus on myself). there is really only becoming more and more centered on christ. when i focus on christ, seeing him for who he really is and opening my heart for the holy spirit to change me, i look more like what i’m focused on, and less like, not just self, but anything else! if i’m focused on being less self-centered, i’m still focusing on me, and if i’m looking at myself, I am still my focus. it is only god’s grace that changes us, and not because we’ve learned to subdue our own selves. it’s really not something that we can work at ourselves.
it’s like when people say that they’re going to come to christ when they’ve “gotten themselves together.” you will never be “right enough” to be fit for god’s righteousness. it’s only when you look at god and his infinite holiness and look at yourself and see that any amount of sin is sinful when juxtaposed with god’s standard, that you are able to say, it’s him. it’s GOD that has to change me. i could never change myself. and so the work of salvation and justification begins.
lord, fix our eyes on you. help us to realize that we cannot change ourselves, we can only be so into you that your precious grace changes our hearts.