Selfishness Is Sin
Matthew 22:37: Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
1 Corinthians 10:24: Let no man seek his own, but every man another*s wealth. 33 Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.
Philippians 2:4: Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. 21 For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ*s.
James 2:15: If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
The sin of selfishness is probably the one we must confess more often than any other. This devotional entitled A Focus on Self was written by Evangelist Wil Rice on Jeremiah 45:5: And seekest thou great things for thyself? Seek them not: for, behold, I will bring evil upon all flesh, saith the LORD: but thy life will I give unto thee for a prey in all places whither thou goest.
Imagine you have just painstakingly typed a 5,000 word document. Then, you push the wrong button on your computer and, poof, it is gone forever and you can*t get it back! That is very frustrating and exceedingly discouraging. But imagine that you were writing something as dense and complex as the book of Jeremiah, and imagine that you were doing it with pen and ink as Baruch, Jeremiah*s secretary, did.
Imagine all your work being destroyed! Well, that is exactly what happened. A wicked king took the Word of God, cut it up with a pen knife, and threw it in a fire. Imagine the discouragement!
Baruch said, *Woe is me now! for the LORD hath added grief to my sorrow.* His sorrow was that he had no friends. This problem was made worse by the fact that he was writing God*s message through Jeremiah to people who did not want to hear it. If all this were not bad enough, he feels as though God added grief to sorrow by allowing the tedious work of his hands to be totally destroyed.
God*s response is instructive. God said, *Thus shalt thou say unto him, The LORD saith thus; Behold, that which I have built will I break down, and that which I have planted I will pluck up, even this whole land.* God said, *Baruch, I made Israel, and I am going to take it apart by chastening my people.*
Don*t you think that a God Who could dictate to entire kingdoms could dictate His words to Jeremiah through Baruch a second time? That is exactly what God did. A God powerful enough to rule kingdoms is powerful enough to help those who are discouraged and who feel as if their work is coming to nothing.
The bottom line is that a focus on self can only lead to discouragement. Baruch was not thinking about God*s grand purpose and the people who needed help from the words he was writing down. Baruch was thinking about his small part of it and pitying himself. Any of us might have done the same in his situation.
God*s purposes will not be thwarted. In Jeremiah 45:5 God says, *And seekest thou great things for thyself? seek them not: for, behold, I will bring evil upon all flesh, saith the LORD: but thy life will I give unto thee for a prey in all places wither thou goest.* In other words God said, *You are pitying yourself, but I am going to take care of you. I am going to bring evil upon all these people to whom I am giving my words through your writing, but I am going to take care of you.* God*s purposes will not be thwarted.
Sometimes we get so caught up in the minutia of our day that we cannot see the big picture. Sometimes, even if we had the eyes, we couldn*t comprehend the big picture because that is something that belongs to God. A focus on self can only lead to discouragement, but a focus on God and His purpose is a perspective of victory.