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Monday, July 13, 2009

Overcoming Selfishness

By Theo Stringer

How often have we judged people, conditions, or
events based upon what we know about them? On the other hand how much
do we really know about the people we meet, the things we see, the
events and circumstances of life? If we are really honest with
ourselves we would have to admit that we don't know nearly as much as
we want people to think we do.


If truth be told the more we live or interact with our closest
relatives and friends, the more we realize that we don't know them like
we thought we did. An even frightening reality is; "the longer we live the more we find out about ourselves."


Thus having judged people, and situations based upon what we
thought we knew about them and later found we were all wrong, can we
honestly evaluate anything based on what we know about them? How can we
judge fairly when we are so limited in our knowledge and understanding?
The answer is that we can't.


In order for us deal with people or circumstances objectively and
appropriately, we must have precise knowledge about them. Ah, but you
may say that is impossible for anyone, and I say that you are right.
However what things that are impossible with men are possible with God.
Only He is infinite in wisdom and knowledge.


The apostle Paul wrote; "To live is Christ," and thus we do all
things through Him. This means that our lives are lived in union with
Jesus in total dependency upon Him. Therefore as we abide Him and He
lives in us, we are able to rightly deal with life and all its
circumstances, as well as interact with people through Him.


If that is so; "why do so many believers struggle to live the Christian life even with Jesus living within them?"
The answer is clear. Jesus said; "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the
branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine,
neither can you, unless you abide in Me" (John 15:4). We were created
to live in union with Christ just as the branch lives in union with the
vine. This means that Christ is the center of our lives. Thus all things are of Him, through Him, and to Him, and not us.


However when we are self-centered (walking after the flesh),
we will become unproductive and discontent in life. Consequently by
operating independently of Christ who is the source of our
fruitfulness, by default leaves us barren.


Jesus is our contentment, not people, conditions or things. Jesus
plus nothing is our all. As we abide in Him, He satisfies us
independently of people or circumstances. Jesus said in Matthew
11:28-30 from the Message Bible; "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out
on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life.
I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with
me-watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay
anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll
learn to live freely and lightly."


As simple as this may sound; "When we are not trusting in Jesus we are trusting in ourselves, and thus to trust in ourselves is to be selfish." So as long as we trust in ourselves we will never enjoy rest because it can only be experience when Jesus is our center.


Selfishness has been the dilemma of mankind since the fall. Yet few of us (saints or sinners) would dare to admit that we are selfish. Yet all the while we see ourselves as God in the center of our universe, i.e. (in control of our own lives),
and thus we view and deal with life from that standpoint. This is the
reason for much of our frustration with people, circumstances, or
events when they don't agree with our point of view.


It is from this limited standpoint that we worry when it seems like
there is not enough money. It is from this same center that we are
easily offended as well as despise those who don't see life the way we
do, when in reality God (who is love) is the core of our new life. What's more, from this center we perform all types of religious activities, i.e. praise, give, worship, fast and pray, and go to church etc. to get God to bless us.


Dear friend we are (already) blessed because Christ
is the center of our being; "for in Him we live, move and have our
being." In Ephesians 1:3 Paul writes; "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ." This is what is, and not what will be after we have "did this or did that."
Jesus is our sufficiency right now! Thus as we abide in Him, the Holy
Spirit lead us in all the activities and circumstances of life - "to live is Christ."

Overcoming Selfishness
By: Theo Stringer

Stringer is the Pastor of the Community House of Prayer, and president
and founder of Cherubim Communications. He is the author of 4 books
that are designed to help ordinary people experience the abundant life.
Find out more about how you can get your Christian manuscript
published, as well as read the many articles available at: http://cherubimcommunications.com

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