July 29, 2011

Selfish Taking

Written by Wisdom Hunters

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today- July 29, 2011

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.” Philippians 2:3-5

Selfish taking demands its own way—there is a sense of entitlement that’s behind its behavior. The desire may be to buy something now, or drink something now, or travel somewhere now—with no regard to the relational ramifications. We fall into this reckless relational routine when we have to have what we want—when we want it—regardless.

Fortunately for us there is a more mature approach that is modeled by our Master and Lord Jesus Christ: selfless giving. Christ could have demanded anything He wanted, but He chose to give up His earthly expectations and use His authority to benefit others. Jesus became a servant and served to the point of giving His very life, so that those who believed in Him could have life. Selfish taking takes life, while selfless giving gives life.

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

Do your relationships lack authentic intimacy? Do you struggle to go deep with God? If so, ask a trusted friend to audit your actions related to taking versus giving. Are they energized when they are around you, or do they feel depleted? You can get what you want and be alone, or you can defer your desires and enjoy intimacy. Selfless giving gets over itself and sees how to really relate to and engage another at their point of need. You give up your right to receive and you position yourself to give for Christ’s sake.

What you want may not be a wrong desire, but for the sake of growing intimacy in your relationships be willing to delay your gratification for another day. Humility invites vulnerability and venerates relationships built on trust in Christ. Honoring another’s needs over your own needs, leads you both into understanding and intimacy. The Lord takes your surrendered expectations and exalts you for His service—for His glory!

“For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body” (2 Corinthians 4:11).

Who can I serve by giving to their needs, instead of taking for my needs?

Related Readings: Proverbs 11:24; Zechariah 7:9; John 13:14; 34; Romans 12:10

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