It’s Hard to be Selfless when we are Disconnected from God

We live in a world of self-obsession. Everything about our society nowadays points to an emphasis on self rather than on others, and we are all paying the price.

Even something as seemingly harmless as the selfie – a word that up until a decade ago never existed and certainly wasn’t a part of our everyday vernacular – isn’t really harmless if it continually turns our attention to ourselves. Almost every restaurant or attraction has created selfie spaces so we can deepen this obsession everywhere we go.

The first problem with this type of focus on self is that we cease to focus on God and His plans for us. The second problem is that we cease to care about others, let alone put them ahead of us as the Bible instructs us to do.

2 Corinthians 5: 14-15 says, “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.”

I’ve always believed that God gave me gifts and talents and that I have a responsibility to use them to serve others and to serve Him. I’m also Type A – internally motivated and driven to succeed. I don’t need much prodding to work hard, and I take my work seriously. When that effort pays off, therefore, I tend to make the biggest mistake we can make. I take credit for my successes rather than giving the glory to God. I make it about me, and yes, I always thank Him.

But when I think about those thanks, I’m basically showing gratitude that I succeeded and God helped me. Usually, gratitude is a good thing. But in this case, I’m grateful that God allowed me to have what I wanted, and I forget that what I wanted might not always be best for me.

That’s where humility comes in. Even when things are going our way – especially when they are – we are prone to think we don’t need God, that we’ve “got this.” If you live long enough, you’ll experience this feeling many, many times in your life. And that’s when you have to check yourself, to stand back and ask God if you’re on the right track, the track He knows you’re meant to be on.

It’s also the time when we should stop focusing on ourselves and start focusing on others. Who needs our help? How can we use our resources to benefit someone else? Is there an opportunity to give to others?

The thing is, if we don’t assess periodically, we are prone to fall into a selfish existence, one where we stop thinking about God’s plan and stop caring for others. And if we’re selfish when money is tight or we keep thinking of the next thing we need to buy, or we start questioning why it’s our responsibility to bail others out, guess what? We’re not suddenly going to become selfless when we have much more money or time. Selfish people stay selfish regardless of how much money they have or how many possessions they’ve obtained.

Selflessness has nothing to do with how much we have and everything to do with how much we give. We must learn contentment, so we are not always looking for the next “thing” to make us happy. Contentment comes from acknowledging and supporting others, building a connection of trust and faith with God, and realizing that that connection is what will make us happy.

The next time you are tempted to think about yourself and your desires, make a conscious effort to pray to God. Ask Him to show you who you can help. Then take action to do just that.

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Rebecca Becker

Rebecca has been a lifelong writer committed to telling stories that illuminate special people, places, and causes. She writes for local, regional, national, and international publications and is based in Houston. She’s been a lifelong Christian dedicated to bringing that perspective forth and keeping the Christian voice within the larger conversation.