A Guide To Dying To Self

In my life, a challenge, among many, is selfishness. I like things done in a particular way – mine. I often manipulate situations so that my preferences will override others. I am subtle and passive aggressive about it but I am as guilty of selfishness as an outspoken narcissist. God has changed me over the years to see more of his will in contrast to my own. And I have had enough experiences with God’s will to start to recognize my “maximum fulfillment” is found within it. But it is a slow process. Philosophers argue “if there is any such thing as a selfless act?” I wouldn’t know the philosophy maxims that would help answer this question but from my experience, selflessness is very rare.

What can be done about this constant tendency toward self? Well, there isn’t a whole lot that we, as individuals do. God has to do the bulk of the work. One thing that might help is to understand the progression of love in God’s kingdom. First, God loves us (John 3:16). Second, we love God. And third, we love others through God (1 John 4:10). With this progression we see that all love starts with God and is only fulfilled through his power. We can’t even properly love ourselves without help from God so how would we think about loving others in a way that is sacrificing and selfless without God showing us how.

Are you trying to love others without having a proper love of God? Do you have trouble understanding the level of love that God has for you? Try this exercise. Read John 21:15-17 and meditate on Jesus’ question of Peter, “Do you love me?” Think about how you would answer this question and your response to Jesus’ command to Peter to “care for my sheep.” Who is it that you need to “feed?”, to care for?, and to love? Ask God, he will give you an answer and you can start to “get over yourself.”

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