As I was reading through the comments on a Facebook post (yes, I still have Facebook, and yes, reading comments is a bad, unhealthy habit of mine) I felt this urge of anger and frustration well up inside me. I so wanted to but out some snarky comments, unleash the fury of my righteous anger, and demonstrate the superiority of my intellect. Praise God for the Holy Spirit! By His grace I held my tongue . . . er . . . fingers. Instead, I heard in my spirit the question that inspired this post.
Is what you are doing today motivated by love for others or love for self?
Can I be honest? I hate this question. I hate that it convicts me so much. I hate that when I answer honestly, a whole lot of what I do day to day is done out of selfish love for myself. I hate that this question reveals just how far I need to go to be more like Jesus. I also hate the fact that I can do the right thing but with the wrong heart.
Let’s take everyone’s favorite topic for example: masks. Now the one act of wearing a mask can be done both selfishly and unselfishly. I can wear a mask because I genuinely care for the well-being of others and because I understand that it lessens (but not guarantees) the chances that I will not inadvertently pass on a potentially fatal disease to others. However, I can also wear a mask to smugly virtue signal my moral superiority over others: the maskless. One is motivated by love of others and one is motivated by love of self. If we are honest, we probably vacillate between the two like a metronome.
The Bible is full of admonitions that remind us of the simple truth: It is not about you.
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.Philippians 2:3 English Standard Version
. . . submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.Ephesians 5:21 English Standard Version
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.Galatians 5:13 English Standard Version
As Christians, we are called to do everything out of love for God and love for others. These two summarize all of God’s commands in the Bible. Therefore, we need to constantly check ourselves to see whether we are acting out of love for self or for others. Also, that means that we will have to lay aside our rights, our preferences, and our own self-importance for the sake of other people. Its not easy, but neither was the cross easy for King Jesus.