It’s My Life
It seems to me the greatest problem facing us today, whether as individual Christians or collectively as the body of Christ, is selfishness. I know this is an age old problem, going back to the Garden of Eden, a problem rooted in every sin that can be named. The difference, however, between times past and today, is the belief today that whatever one wants is okay, that whatever we think or say or do is accepted by God, and therefore should be accepted by everyone else. Getting things “my way” is viewed as an inviolable right for many, and conflicts arise over selfish people or groups getting in each other’s way while pursuing whatever course they have chosen.
The present chaos resulting from changing worship styles in the worship of the church is due to selfishness on the part of those who put their desires above the will of God. There are essentially no new arguments being made today that weren’t put forward 100 or more years ago over the addition of instrumental music, and those who would add it do so based on selfish wants rather than a sound interpretation of Scripture. One of the arguments used most to advance instrumental music is that we will loose “talented people” from the church if we don’t incorporate it into our services. Since when do the talents God gave us supersede His will for us? Isn’t He the same God who both freely gives us all things, and defines the worship that best glorifies Him? Ah, but we have forgotten that worship isn’t to be centered on human desires, but on glorifying God (Matt. 15:8-9). Selfishness rears its ugly head, and division results so people can get their way.
The work of the church goes neglected as well, due to the selfishness of those who want the church to “meet their needs,” rejecting the call of the gospel to serve each other. Paul well understood what would happen when we allowed worldly motives to govern us instead of the selfless spirit of Christ. “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another” (Gal. 5:13-15). Who is there to evangelize if everyone is waiting for someone else to do something for them? How can genuine needs be met when others are more concerned about getting things their way than caring for others? Again, selfishness rears its ugly head, and division results so people can get their way.
Heaven and hell are topics that are discussed less and less, as we become more and more consumed with fleshly living. We convince ourselves God will continue to wink, or overlook everything and pardon everyone on the Day of Judgment. So we live for today, and make Christianity a matter of having a better life here and now. Yet God holds us all accountable for how we live, and we will give an account of our lives to Him (2 Cor. 5:10). It’s not those who casually toss around the Lord’s name who are His, but those who live for Him as Lord (Matt. 7:21). Living as a child of God is an everyday concern, not just an every now or then appearance on Sunday. Hell may not be spoken of much these days, but it’s still there, still real, still a horrible place that many will find their eternal abode, and not just those who never hear or obey the gospel. Scripture reminds us that selfishness, not willing to help others, is rejecting Jesus Himself, and stores up eternal punishment for that day (Matt. 25:41-46). Selfishness will rear its ugly head again on the Day of Judgment, but the division then will be for heaven and hell, for eternity, and God’s will shall be done, not ours.
The worst part of selfishness is that it deceives its participants into thinking they’re not being selfish. Sin deceives and hardens the heart (Heb. 3:13), and few that live by its principles ever feel the motivation to honestly examine their motives and see what they’ve become. But it’s time each of us do so, while there is still time to repent, seek forgiveness, and humble ourselves before God. “But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth…For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing” (James 3:14, 16).
μαράνα θᾶ (1 Cor. 16:22)