The Significant Sin of Selfishness

Philippians 2:3–4 (ESV)

“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.”

The sin of pride is without a doubt the gateway to committing so many other sins. It is our pride that keeps us from a posture of humility; it is pride that keeps us in sexual sin because we feel we are in control; it is pride that keeps us from recognizing the errors in our attitudes and actions; it is pride that keeps us from true fellowship with God and our fellow man.

Paul was addressing some disharmony in the Philippian church, likely stemming from some form of prideful behavior, but his message is universal. When you reflect on your own interactions with others, do you always “count others more significantly than yourselves” or does your pride prevent this from being your nature? Do you possess a Sunday-only humility and stay enamored with arrogance the other six days?

If you have accepted Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord over your life, Paul’s words here are not optional, nor are they meant to be a goal to strive towards. Consider this list: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. This list should look familiar to you as this is list represents the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). When you invite Jesus into your heart, the Holy Spirit takes up residence immediately. This fruit reflects the nature of a person whose heart is truly transformed.

We have our role model in Jesus Himself. When Jesus commanded us to love our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:39), this clearly indicates one is not above the other in importance. For God to come down and humble Himself to be as we are, to suffer such an excruciating death on a cross between two common thieves, just because He wanted fellowship with us forever should drive us to our knees every single day of our lives.

We simply cannot focus on the cross and remain prideful. Notice Paul did not admonish us for looking out for ourselves, but rather doing so in a way that keeps us mindful of others (c.f. Galatians 6:2). Humility does not mean putting ourselves down, but rather lifting others up.

We should always be examining ourselves if our Christian walk matches the faith we believe we have. Through humble prayer, ask God to maintain in you a spirit of humility each and every day you wake up.