Friday, October 25, 2013

Selfish Christianity

Selfishness is the source of most interpersonal conflict. Someone is taking something from us (materially, emotionally, socially, etc.) that we don't want to give, and we fight to keep or gain our desires. Unselfishness is the source of most interpersonal harmony. Think about the people you really like - even famous people you don't know personally. Usually the reason you like them is because they are gracious and kind, and give of themselves. If you want to be a harmonious, likable person, you must be unselfish.

Charles Stanley in his article ''Selfish Christianity'' says: Think honestly about this question: Which interests you more—who Jesus is or what He can do for you? I’m afraid that too many of us are more concerned about what the Lord can give us than we are about getting to know who He is.
But this is nothing new—Jesus had the same problem when He walked on earth. The crowds often sought Him out for what He could do for them. Even though their needs were quite often legitimate, Christ knew their motives.
There is a fine line between selfishly trying to use the Lord to get what we want and humbly coming to Him with our needs and struggles. Some of the issues we bring to Him are so pressing and urgent in our minds that our desire for Him to take action in the way we want becomes greater than our willingness to submit to His will. At times, what we call “faith” is really a demanding spirit.
We must remember that our earthly needs will come to an end, but Jesus Christ will remain forever. If our prayers have dealt only with presenting our requests to the Lord, then we are missing a great opportunity to get to know the One with whom we are going to spend all eternity. Let’s invest time in pursuing intimacy with the great God who created us. Then we can enjoy all the benefits of that relationship forever.

Think of what you’re missing when you don’t put God first in your life!

When you go your own way, you miss the very best part of life. In fact, walking with God is so much better than a worldly life that one day spent in fellowship with God is better than a thousand days out of fellowship with Him.

Someone who has not experienced the joy of God’s blessing and favor and presence cannot fathom this. To them the Christian life is just a bunch of don’ts and a hard slog of battling to do better.

But we who have experienced a close relationship with God know that Christianity is not about “doing better” but about knowing and loving God and experiencing His loving presence. What could be better than that? Nothing!

God does not show partiality or favoritism (Deuteronomy 10:17; Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11; Ephesians 6:9), and neither should we. James 2:4 describes those who discriminate as “judges with evil thoughts.” Instead, we are to love our neighbors as ourselves (James 2:8). In the Old Testament, God divided humanity into two “racial” groups: Jews and Gentiles. God’s intent was for the Jews to be a kingdom of priests, ministering to the Gentile nations. Instead, for the most part, the Jews became proud of their status and despised the Gentiles. Jesus Christ put an end to this, destroying the dividing wall of hostility (Ephesians 2:14). All forms of racism, prejudice, and discrimination are affronts to the work of Christ on the cross.

As GotQuestions states, "The evidence of a true Christian is displayed in both faith and action. “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17). James says, “I will show you my faith by my works” (James 2:18). Jesus put it this way: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). A true Christian will show his faith by how he lives. Despite the wide variety of beliefs that fall under the general “Christian” label today, the Bible defines a true Christian as one who has personally received Jesus Christ as Savior, who trusts in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ alone for forgiveness of sins, who has the Holy Spirit residing within, and whose life evinces change consistent with faith in Jesus."

We are supposed to care who says they are a Christian because Christians are supposed to have the truth of Jesus in us and abide by the Spirit. If we do then we're brethren, and we build each other up, pray for each other, and help each other. If they are not, we know to evangelize them with our words, witness to them with our lives, and separate from them in our spirit. Mindlessly accepting everyone who utters "Jesus" like a magic password, blurs those lines and foils the notion that we are supposed to be separate, holding onto the only truth in a dying world of relativism. This unwillingness to engage in what is at root a problem of discernment is the number one problem in the church.

The Christian life is a battle of the sinful flesh against the new nature given by Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). As fallen human beings, we are still trapped in a body that desires sinful things (Romans 7:14-25). As Christians, we have the Holy Spirit producing His fruit in us and we have the Holy Spirit's power available to conquer the acts of the sinful nature (2 Corinthians 5:17; Philippians 4:13). A Christian will never be completely victorious in always demonstrating the fruits of the Holy Spirit. It is one of the main purposes of the Christian life, though, to progressively allow the Holy Spirit to produce more and more of His fruit in our lives—and to allow the Holy Spirit to conquer the opposing sinful desires. The fruit of the Spirit is what God desires our lives to exhibit and, with the Holy Spirit's help, it is possible!


Raj Kosaraju

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