How do be Godly and Biblically selfish.

Yeah, what a title! How can Godly, Biblical and selfish be in the same sentence? That’s impossible! Well, let’s try to explain it a bit:

Human selfishness is like “me, me, me, me, and the rest can drop dead”. And the Bible is very clear about that, that is wrong.

Fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.

Philippians 2:2-3

So, that’s clear. Human selfishness is wrong, there is no way around it. But now let’s flex our brains a little, and look at being Godly and biblical and selfish. What do we mean by that? Let’s start by making the explanation clearer with this verse:

Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

Matthew 22:37-40

If you look at this verse, you can already see that God must be number 1(!). And not just at number one, but completely: “with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. This commandment is the first and the greatest.” Clear, right? So to be Godly, biblically selfish, you can never be number 1 because God is already there. Very clearly.

Who is number 2 then? Let’s take a closer look at that verse:

And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

But can you know how to love the other person if you don’t love yourself? Oops…. So you have to love yourself to understand how to love someone else. Let’s look at the following Bible verse:

Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?

1 Corinthians 3:16

In our daily practice, we see many, many people who treat their own body and mind as…yes, as what exactly? Sometimes they burn themselves down completely. (burning up is a different thing) Is that taking good care of the temple that God has given you? No way! And if you have to love someone else as much as you love yourself, is it okay to burn that other person down because that’s how you treat yourself? No, of course not! In other words, in order to be able to help someone else well, with true Divine and Biblical love, you must ensure that you first love yourself, Divinely and Biblically. So God is number 1, you are number 2.

Well… not quite… let’s look at this verse:

‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”

Matthew 19:5-6

So if you are married, God is number 1, you are number 2a and your partner is number 2b. Is your partner less than you with that B spot? Well, no, because your partner puts himself back in place 2a, puts you in place 2b and since you are one together, you are now exactly in place 2. Together. Beautiful in Divine and Biblical balance with God at number 1. And everything you do, you do with the temple that God has given you, for Him. Everything.

And who will come in at number 3? Well, let’s look at the next verse:

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward.

Psalm 127:3

And there are many, many more verses that your children should be next on that ladder. So, does this Divine ladder look like if we put the children on that ladder:

God #1, you are #2a, your spouse #2b (and vice versa), your children #3. There is nothing that gets in between, and there should be nothing in between. But…

What if we put God at #1, but not you at #2, but the children at #2? Do you see what goes wrong? You are demolishing your own temple and your partner, who must be equal to you, are where?? Then you can already see that something is going horribly wrong and sooner or later, something will say boom. And why? Because you have chosen not to be “Godly, Biblical, Selfish.” The whole house of cards collapses, with all the misery that entails. Who was that to blame?

And whose next turn will it be on that ladder? Let’s look at the following verse:

But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

1 Timothy 5:8

In other words, after your relatives, nothing will come on that ladder for a long, long time. Because suppose… you put your work, your hobby, your colleagues, at number 3. The place that your family should actually have. That’s the house of cards coming down again. Oops….

So work, hobby, colleagues, or you name it, are not even close to number 4. Perhaps your fellow Christians would be better off there? Your real(!) friends perhaps? I have no idea who, but your hobbies, etc. are still not listed there. Let’s add up: God + you + your partner + your children + your family + your friends + your fellow Christians… then we have already filled 7 spots on the ladder.

One step deeper. In the past (yes, I’m that old) I once took a first aid course. Nice! Also in combination with an Emergency Response course, so that was a few days of fun cutting, pasting, lighting a fire, fun! And after a few days of working like this, the exam was there and just before the exam our teacher asked us the following:

You see someone across the street who has been hit by a car. What do you do?

Well, we knew that one! We had just learned that! So I shouted: “Is he still breathing?” Wrong. What? What do you mean wrong? So another student replied: “Check your heart rate then?” No, also wrong. Yeah, just great, what do you mean, wrong? We had just learned that a few days ago. From you! So, what is it?

First look left and then right to see if another car is approaching. Because if you don’t look after yourself first, you will get hit by that car, and there will soon be two people on the road… And who will help who now?

Oops. In all our enthusiasm, with all the very good(!) intentions that entails, we had forgotten ourselves. Now there were not two people seriously injured on the road, but also our family now also had a problem… and instead of solving one problem, we had created many more. Our family had a problem, our employer has a problem, the person who suddenly saw that fool crossing the road had a problem, and on and on and on… what a mess. Because we didn’t pay attention to ourselves first. Oops.

And now let’s look at today. Have we got that ladder of priorities right? Or is the ladder completely upside down? Perhaps with all the good intentions, but with a huge mountain of victims? Who is your number 1? And at number 2? Pay close attention to yourself because in order to pay attention to someone else, you must first, Divinely, Biblically, pay attention to yourself.

And that is sometimes quite difficult… yes, yes, we know how it goes…. So today, we want to challenge you to not be humanly selfish, but Godly, biblically selfish. And although the term may not be the best, we now understand very well what it means. In order to be able to do what God asks of us:

Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

Matthew 22:37-40