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My wife is a woman of great faith. Throughout our marriage, she has prayed boldly for some audacious prayer requests. Some of these bold requests I disagreed with, most infamously that God would test us financially. I didn’t understand why she wanted to pray that, but God did answer that prayer, and it was a faith-building exercise for us.

Last year, I felt led to pray a prayer that was also audacious: that God would show me where I was selfish. What a dumb prayer! I thought there would be 3-5 things that I would need to fix, not 365 at least! It has been a very interesting exercise, and one that I would highly recommend. It was (and is) very humbling to realize how selfish that I really am. Indeed, we are all full of ourselves.

Christ is our ultimate example of selflessness. As we observe holy week, I am reminded of Christ’s sacrifice. Look as how much selflessness is mentioned in this passage from Phil. 2:

3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Verse 4 states the obvious: we will look out for our own interest. The challenge is the rest of the verse: will we look out for the interests of others?

Verse 3 says to do nothing out of selfish ambition, but putting others first. Our example is Christ, who did the ultimately selfless act of emptying himself to become a man, praying “not My will, but Thine be done”, and giving Himself as a ransom for all.

7 comments to Selfish

  • G.L.O.

    A timely for for me as well as the Body of Christ. Thanks!!

  • Megan Wright

    I think this is a very valuable thing to consider. Especially in our modern culture, selfishness is often overlooked, and sometimes it is even praised, making it so easy for us to not notice the areas in which we are selfish. We also have the greatest example of selflessness and humility that we can emulate. I know that I certainly need to make an effort to do nothing out of selfish ambition and to look out for the interests of others. I would like to think that sometimes I do okay at this, but I know that in reality, I fail at it over and over. My prayer is that through the power of the Spirit, I will be able to look to the interests of others and follow Christ’s example of humility.

  • Brayden Groff

    Praying prayers like that can often be very scary but I think that’s because we’re afraid of what they may reveal about our own lives. It is in all of our natures to be selfish individuals. It is only through Christ’s power that our selfishness can be revealed to ourselves and destroyed. This is a prayer that I think all of us could benefit from daily.

  • Paige Senseman

    I also find it hard to pray for things that will challenge me because my sinful heart wants the easy way out. But when I am most aware of my sin is when I am most willing to ask the Lord to change me no matter what it takes. This was a great reminder to me to pray that God would make my sin known to me so that I may repent and trust Him more.

  • Josiah Alberghene

    Treasurable thoughts. Audacious prayers are frightening, perhaps because they are selfless, and selflessness takes us outside of that which is often our greatest security – ourselves. Christ’s example is incredible and unreachable – which is the point. Christ considered all others before himself – in a way which accounted for his divinity and authority. I rarely use Holy Week as a reason to look for selflessness.

  • Keegan Bumpus

    I see the importance of this applying to anyone as well, not just a worship leader in the question of pride. I too believe that if we were to take a step back from our world schedules that God would show us the dirty pride found inside our minds. Thank you for this reminder to check our hearts.

  • Kasey Pot

    When I first became a christian, I prayed very bold things to the Lord. Such as, “God! Break my heart for what breaks yours!”God did. As a result, I now have an incredibly tender heart, sometimes too much to bear. My selfish heart reveals itself through my fear; I am afraid to pray these selfless prayers, because I don’t want to be pushed past my incredible comfort zone. I think this is wrong, and I will swiftly seek to grow past it.