I Give Up: “Selfishness & Pride” - I John 2:15-17, Jeremiah 9:23, Philippians 2:3-4
It has been said that self-centeredness is the basic cause of much of our distress in life. Many of us suffer from a spiritual nearsightedness. When our interests, our loves, and our energies are too focused on ourselves, we are no good to others. Jesus knew this would be an issue for us and even commanded His disciples to live to serve others rather than to live selfishly. He even told the rich young ruler that “If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven” (Matthew 19:21). This was to ensure that he would be released from selfishness, and its devastating effect on his life.
Someone once wrote to Billy Graham and asked this question, I remember reading in your column some time ago that you believe pride is responsible for many of the sins we commit. What did you mean by this? I don't see what's wrong with having pride in doing a good job, for instance, do you?
Billy Graham responded, No, it isn't wrong to take "pride in a job well done" -- if by that you mean being satisfied because we have done our best. The Bible says, "it is good and proper for a man ... to find satisfaction in his toilsome labor" (Ecclesiastes 5:18). But this isn't the same as selfish pride -- which is what the Bible condemns. This kind of pride shuts God out of our lives because it makes us believe that we don't need Him. This kind of pride puts self on the throne of our hearts, instead of God. It leads to arrogance because it causes us to think that we are better than others. It blinds us to our own faults and leads to jealousy
and conflict. It also makes us insensitive to the needs of others and causes us to control others instead of loving them. This makes it easy to see why God says, "I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech" (Proverbs 8:13). The Bible also warns us that "Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall" (Proverbs 16:18). Be encouraged to not let pride or selfishness keep you from Christ. Be humble at the foot of the cross and be open to Christ’s power in your heart and life.
Additional Scriptures to Study:
Psalm 10:4, Proverbs 11:2, Proverbs 3:7, Ecclesiastes 3:12-13, Exodus 5:2
Questions to Answer Individually:
Questions that Could Be Asked in a Group:
Challenges/Action Steps to Think About for Personal Application:
Selfishness is the attitude of being concerned with one’s own interests above the interests of others and pride leads to an inflated ego. In your prayer time, ask God to reveal to you the ways you have been selfish and prideful. Ask Him to help you overcome these areas.
You have probably heard the saying to “have an attitude of gratitude.” In response to that, make a list of the things you do well and that you are proud of. Take some time to thank God for each of the items on your list and ask Him to use them for His glory.