Monday, April 23, 2012

The Epitome of Unselfishness

It's easy to say, "I love God."

Many of us have grown up knowing that we should love God with all our heart,
with all our mind,
with all our strength,
and with all our soul.
We know that we should love God above anything or anyone else.

I know it too. But one can know and yet...

not know.


A few days ago I was looking at some notes I've taken on my iPod these past couple of years. I had already read quite a few old notes, and all of them brought back unique memories or things I learned which I had jotted down.

This one, however, caught my attention.

The date: April 9, 2011.
The title: Sabbath Solo Time.
The place: Hawaii.

As I shook the dust off and peered at this picture from memory's closet, I remembered sitting in the shade of some sparse trees, on the opposite side of a beautiful bay on the island of Kauai.

Up in the hills, I couldn't see the ocean, just the woods around me.

It was quiet.

I was alone.

I could speak out loud to God without anyone hearing.

But I found that I didn't do much talking. I found myself listening as I talked.

And then I wrote...
I want God to be my first love, my highest passion. I was telling Him this, but as I was I realized that He wasn't. He showed me that most often, I love myself more than God. Yes, we're supposed to love God above anyone else, but I had never really concretely thought about loving Him more than myself. It's so obvious, yet I've never seen it like that before. If we loved God more than ourselves, we would have reached the epitome of unselfishness.
After I read this and saw the picture clearly in my mind, I had to stop and read the last phrase again. My lack of proper grammar in this quick note didn't help my comprehension, so I edited it:

"If we love God more than ourselves, we have reached the epitome of unselfishness." 


I can say I love God. That's easy.

However, if I only do what want to do and serve my own desires,
and I don't listen to what God tells me to do and follow His will,
then I speak a lie.

My whole life is a lie.

Naturally, I am bent on following my own will,
and then I am so inherently selfish that
I blind myself to the fact that I have put myself before God.

I cannot see that my actions say, "I love myself more than God."


Jesus said, "If you love me, keep my commandments."

This does not only apply to His law in His word.
This applies in everyday life, whenever you hear that still, small voice calling you.

Will you follow Me regardless of your earthly desires? 

Will you drop everything, 
even as your hands grasp the nets, 
and allow Me to make you a fisher of men, and not 
a pleaser of men? 

A conqueror of self, and not 
a slave of self? 

Will you allow Me to come in and take full control 
of your senses, 
your thoughts, 
your desires 
and actions?

Do you really love Me? 

Follow Me. 


I have heard this voice before...

And sometimes, it almost seems like too much.

I find myself thinking, "You're asking a lot. It's just too hard. Why must it be so hard?"

I struggle because I know what He asks is right, even if I can't see the end result.
I know it's the only way.

But my desires conflict. And sadly, more often than not
I confirm the lie of my life
by handing the reins to my own desires.


When asked what true unselfishness is, we point to the cross.
Jesus came down and gave His life
for you
and for me.
He would have rather died than be in heaven without us.

In the garden He struggled with inhuman agony when duty to His Father's will
was contrary to desire.

But unparalleled Love that we will never comprehend instantly made the decision.

He counted the cost and drank the cup, even when all was so dark
and He couldn't see the end result.
He loved us more than Himself.


This is the epitome of unselfishness.


So what does it have to do with us?
"Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross" (Philippians 2:5-8 NKJV).  
The epitome of unselfishness—loving God more than ourselves—is something we cannot reach on our own.

We need Jesus' mind.

"Let this mind be in you..."

We need only to ask, and He will begin
to transform,
renew,
and empower our minds and hearts
to be His.

"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh" (Ezekiel 36:26 NKJV).

Then we will humble ourselves, 
and become obedient to the point of death. 

Even the death of ourself.


This is the epitome of unselfishness.



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