Cure for the Self-Centered Life

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” – Philippians 2:3-4
Image (c) Shutterstock

Image (c) Shutterstock

This is who we’ve become

Self-centeredness is human default mode; we love ourselves. We care too much about our interests. We demand our space. No one dares get in the queue before us.

In all of these, we love the praise and compliments of others.

We cherish the gain more than the process. We’d do anything to reap the rewards without the journey. We are wired to be present only where we’re adored, where we stand elevated and applauded by others.

We are miserable even by our own standards.

Did you just try to defend yourself. Don’t bother, it’s no use. We are all in the same boat. We are selfish people. All of us. This is who we’ve become.

But we weren’t made for this

Man wasn’t created to be this way though. The fall brought about a deep depravity that resulted in all kinds of sinfulness and moral failures in man, one of which is the self-centered, “me-myself-and-I” life.

Paul does well to remind us of the God-intended life and specifically to avoid selfish ambitions or significance. I regularly pinch myself on this one. I’m an ambitious person but the moment my ambitions threaten to overshadow my faith and true purpose, it becomes selfish and sinful.

We weren’t made for this, and remaining self-ward becomes a tragedy because:

Selfish ambitions and self-centeredness deny us the opportunity to experience God at work in others. Share this with others.
 

Cure for the self-centered life

When we are so into ourselves, we cannot be channels of blessing to others; we cannot reach others with the gospel of grace, we cannot touch lives, we cannot influence people.

The cure for selfishness is really simple. In fact, it’s so simple you might slap yourself (please don’t!) when you realise numerous missed opportunities. And this is it:

LOOK AROUND. GIVE. SHARE.
 

Quit looking at yourself for a moment. Put the mirror aside and look through the window. Deny yourself.

There are no better words to capture this truth than “in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” – Philippians 2:4.

Giving are sharing are both liberating and joy-infusing. The flesh doesn’t want to let go but your spirit now has a new appetite. Your time, resources and skills aren’t yours but God’s. So release yourself and become a conduit of grace in the hands of the Holy Spirit.

In the process, you are guaranteed not only to become less selfish but to discover the true meaning of purpose; your purpose.

Question: In addition to giving, how else has God helped you become less self-centered? Share in the comments. 

P.S. This Saturday, I’ll be hosting university and college students at the second Success Masterclass Program in Essen and we’re inspiring and challenging ourselves to live with purpose practically. The students are excited. Please pray for us.

About Joseph Iregbu

I'm a writer, purpose guy, speaker and business consultant. My passion is to help people live with purpose and not waste their lives. I live in the UK with my wife, Temi and our gorgeous Isabel Juda. Let's connect on Twitter and Facebook.

  • Matthew

    Joseph,

    To answer your question about other ways God has helped me become less self-centered, I would say knowledge, wisdom and understanding. I say this because He has showed me the identity of the flesh and the identity of Christ. Like you mentioned above that “we are all selfish people”, we have been living in our religious false selves with a misconception of what it means to be a believer.

    I’m glad that you mentioned in your question about other ways besides giving because giving doesn’t mean we are living in our true selves, which is Christlikeness. If we think that giving (doing) is the way to righteousness, we are living a self-centered false self life creating our own “god” (idol). Those who live this false life (including myself) are just modern day Pharisees. They thought that doing was gods way, but of course it wasn’t.

    Of course giving is not bad. In fact, giving is the direct result of being transformed into Christlikeness. It’s when you do it because you think it’s the righteous thing to do is when it becomes a sin. In the end of your blog post you mentioned “release yourself and become a conduit of grace in the hands of the Holy Spirit”. This one sentence alone is so powerful and life changing.

    What it means to be a believer, a follower of Christ and Him being the center piece of your life is by letting your false self go. It’s hard because the flesh wants that control it is so used to having, but once we let go and let the Holy Spirit transform and guide us, we enter into Gods grace, Love and joy humbly and therefore find our true identity.

    Great post Joseph. Look forward to reading more of your thoughts and insight.

    God Bless,
    Matthew

    • Hi Matthew, you are right… giving in itself is not the only cure for selfishness but that’s the one area I wanted to focus on. Giving is not always about the act but the inward transformation that precedes the act of loving people in practical ways. I’ve seen that we become increasingly keen on everything being all about us. But the God-intended life involves looking outside ourselves, looking to God and looking at others as well.
      I enjoyed your insight and comment. Becoming Christ-like involves a complete change in our hearts and must be seen by all.

  • DS

    Quit looking at ourselves. Regardless of how terrible life is, there is always some one, some where suffering in a totally different way. Imagine if Jesus looked at himself and discussed how unfortunate he was to be a sacrifice for all of mankind’s sins? Imagine him complaining about being crucified. Yet he went out and prayed for his disciples and for those who were to follow. Keep it up Joseph!

  • I find that when I focus on others, when I ask how I can pray for them that I realize I have so much to be thankful for and much others are hurting and need a touch from God.
    Praying really helps to move me out of my place of being selfish and helps me focus more on what is important to God, and that is people. God loves people and wants to be invovled in their lives. God wants me to love them and be involved in their lives.