The Gospels quote Jesus as saying, “If any of you wants to be My follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow Me.” Selfish is such a familiar word. It has been around since Adam and Eve first tasted the fruit. We’ve known about selfish for as long as we can remember. From the time we and our peers discovered the concept of “mine”, we have found ourselves often on both sides of that tug of war.
As we got older and our circle of acquaintances grew, we found out that some people had a particular tendency for selfishness. They were the bullies on the playground, the kids who had to make everything about them, and the ones who needed and got all the attention.
Now that we’ve grown up, selfishness may be a bit more refined, but is often even more deeply ingrained in “those” people. We can identify it in the lives of others, but we’re pretty sure that we are better than that now.
What does it look like if we break down the word a little differently? Instead of selfish, let’s say self-ish. It is something that reeks of me, anything that serves me, makes me look good, earns me respect, gets me attention, promotes my agenda, or benefits my interests. The list would be very long. It is impossible for us to completely purify every motive and disentangle ourselves from our self-stuff.
We can, however, turn our self-ness over to the Lord. Matthew 11:28-30 says we should bring our burden to the Lord (turn from our selfish ways), take His yoke (take up your cross) which is custom made for Him and each of us to wear together. We let Him lead and pull the weight (follow Him) finding rest for our souls. He will be faithful to show us when we fall into serving ourselves if we have surrendered our wills completely to His. We give up our lives for His sake and we gain a life saved to something far higher and bigger than we could have ever imagined. Let’s help each other serve His ways over our own.