Mankind is selfish. It’s in our very nature.
And this is how I know: My son, Justus, cheats at marbles.
I didn’t teach him to cheat. His Dad didn’t teach him to cheat. He understands that the game has rules. He knows cheating is wrong. But man! He just wants that shiny green marble so much!
“It was kinda on the line, Mom. I didn’t nudge it, really!”
Of course, the Bible has some things to say on the subject as well. Take Romans 7:18 for example:
“For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.”
The willing is present in me, but the doing of good is not. That’s intense!
Think of Adam and Eve. They get a bad rap, but really, the first truly selfish act is seen in the Garden of Eden. God tells this naked couple to steer clear of a single tree. ONE STINKING TREE! And what do they do? They eat of it. Eve first and then her husband, Adam. Of course, the snake was there. A little temptation. A little deception. Adam blames Eve. Eve blames the snake.
But, blame can only be shifted so far. The Bible tells us in James that “each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.” So, Adam and Eve, the first humans to walk the face of the earth, were, at one time, sinless. But, according to Scripture, it was their own lust, their own desire that carried them into sin.
God says, “Do not eat of the tree. Don’t even touch it. Or you will die.”
The snake says, “You’re not going to die! In fact, eat that shiny apple and you will be like God!”
The minute we believe the lie, the very second we give credence to our own selfish desires, we’re in trouble. Only complete denial of our flesh can keep us from sin. It’s only by walking in the Spirit that our selfish nature can be overcome. But how do we do that? How can we walk in the Spirit? It is only through Christ and Christ alone that such a feat can be achieved. Read Galatians 2:20:
“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”
We must die to ourselves. When our own selfish desires dance before our eyes, when they fly in the face of the Creator’s commands, we must resist. James 4:7 says,
“Submit therefore to God. Resist the Devil and he will flee from you.”
I’ve noticed that Justus has a harder time cheating when he’s looking me in the face. It’s when his greedy little eyes are on the shiny marble that I have cause for concern. When his eyes are on me, he remembers just why we’re playing. He remembers that it’s our time together that’s important. Not the marble.
In the same way, we must keep our eyes on the Creator. We must remember just why we’re living this life. When we take our eyes off Him–when we let our own desires dictate our focus–we’re sure to screw up. It’s in our nature. Our sinful, selfish nature. We must choose Christ, everyday. Every decision. And just why should we do that? Why should we care more about His purpose for our life than the shiny marble we can reach out and grab? The answer’s right there in Galatians 2:20.
When you’re tempted to lie, cheat, steal… When that ripe, luscious apple is within your reach… Turn your attention to Christ. Crucify your flesh. Submit your will to the Creator’s. Remember it is no longer you living, but Christ in you.
Because He loves you. Because He gave Himself for you.