Over several years of ministry, I have noticed that a crucial factor that destroys relationships and causes conflicts, arguments, separations, and even hatred is selfishness. Take for example marriage, people start a relationship with an unselfish and considerate frame of mind. But as time progresses and turbulence hits, like in any relationship, selfishness pokes its horrible head. It is a fact that people put more energy into scoping and starting a relationship than maintaining a relationship. We talked about this in James 4:1, “what causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?”
Now, what is the antidote for selfishness? It is selflessness. What is selflessness? Selflessness runs counter to human nature; selflessness is fueled by God. Now some of us may consider selflessness to be helping a friend in need or picking up our neighbor’s kid from school or house sitting or ministering to a spouse – these are normal expectations of selflessness. Jesus expands this far beyond normal expectation – we are to love our enemies, even pray for those who persecute us (Matt 5:44). Jesus said it’s easy to love a friend or spouse – even non-believers do that (Matt 5:47). As believers our selflessness should extend beyond the normal patterns of the world. We are to love the ‘unlovable’ because this is how we become more like Jesus (Rom 5:8). So being selfless is to submit to God our hurt feelings and wounded hearts and serve others like Jesus did (Phil 2:7). Being selfless is not something that can come out of our natural self, it can only run on God’s power, His provisions, and His love.
A selfless journey can be hard and can only be sustained by God given perseverance. Now there could be a positive impact of our selflessness on people around us, it can build relationships and heal wounds yet there is no guarantee to this. So, selflessness essentially becomes an exhibition on our life in Christ, our abiding in Christ, our remaining in the vine – what more does a believer crave for than this? As mentioned, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Gal 2:20)