At the centre of ‘sin’ is ‘I’ with the blight of human nature being the obsession with ‘me, myself and I’; being concerned only with my pleasure and a ‘how this affects me’ attitude, while ignoring the legitimate needs and rights of others or sharing our blessings with them (Lk 12:16-21).

A selfish person likes to be the focus of attention, thinking they are the only one that matters, with their way the only way, and taking the credit and recognition while not accepting responsibility for mistakes.  The problem of selfish humanity is revealed by Adam and Eve’s attitude when tempted, 'Let

  We are not to live for ourselves but for                                  Him – 2 Corinthians 5:15 

us have the fruit' – there was no thought about how their decision would affect God or what He had said about eating it (Gen 3:6). The consequence of that self-centred action continue to this day, being outworked through what is termed "the works of the flesh" (Gal 5:19-21). Selfishness caused the rich young ruler to turn his back on Jesus (Mt 19:21,22).

Selfishness is living according to the circumstances with our emotions dictating our response – if things are going according to my liking I am happy, but if things are going wrong, I am grumpy and sad. It is the cause of much unhappiness, quarrels and numerous other relational problems (2 Tim 3:2-4). We focus on what’s wrong and how we have been disadvantaged, yet are we as quick to give encouragement and rejoice when things go right? The Bible says, people put themselves under a curse if they don’t share, so we should give to those who ask, and even look for those in need who we can help knowing it is “more blessed to give than to receive” (Prov 11:26; Mt 5:42; 25:43-45; Act 20:35).

If God truly reigns in our lives, his interests and priorities will supersede ours. What is my reaction when I am not ministered to (paid attention), when things go wrong and I am blamed? The cure for selfishness is having a servant attitude and pursuing the well-being of others with the same intensity we pursue it for ourselves (Phil 2:3-7). Can I surrender my legitimate rights to follow Jesus, or do I selfishly hold onto them (Mt 19:29).

See also: focus, individualism, not being ministered to, outward focusedreaction, responsible/responsibilities, self, self-pity, self-sacrifice. 

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