sandtorock
Jill's self talk
"My potential to be truly great, lies beyond personal ambition or personal success."
Unselfishness ... 1

The beauty of unselfishness

One of our greatest personal freedoms is our right to self-determination. It is the right to make decisions that govern how we live and what we choose to do. Life shows us that God always allows us to have freewill, but wants us to use it wisely. Since He doesn't try to control us, tells us something about His love for us. Even if it means we make mistakes, He wants us to be free. Freedom is very highly valued in a secular culture, but it is often misunderstood. One trap we can fall into when embracing freedom, is being selfish, and if we are not careful, selfishness can take over our mind and our life.
While "looking out for number 1" might seem like a great idea, we can become oblivious to just how detrimental this philosophy is, to both ourselves and to others. If we put ourselves before family, before team, before congregation, or before society; the breakdown of those units ensues, because they all thrive on cooperation and unity. When we are concerned with our own interests, benefits and welfare to the exclusion of how it affects the others; it's showing we don't really care about them. Think about the starving, the homeless, the souls that life has broken. Our prideful and selfish attitude towards them might even be damning them to life of hell, and it wouldn't really bother us. And when we are "full of ourselves", there is also little room for God, and by this we may even be condemning ourselves to hell.
Selfishness is related to our inborn pride, and it is extremely dangerous, causing untold damage in human terms. It pretends to protect, promote and make us happy, and this makes it extremely hard to shake off. But it is God’s desire that we be released from the dangerous and ugly mannerisms of selfishness and egotism, that plague mankind. While we all know it's God's will for us to love one another, and we all want to become this soul of great beauty whose life pleases God, do we realize that only selfless people can live a life of true love? The Bible says God opposes proud people, but favors humble people. If this is true, then the solution to pride and selfishness is to embrace a “selfless” paradigm that relinquishes control of ourselves, to God; so we can experience a new perception of life that is focused on enriching the lives of others around us.
Jill's self talk
"I surrender my choices and my life to God, in ways that makes God happy. I am a Christian who is becoming a credit to society and an asset to God's Kingdom. My choices are designed to give God the greatest honor I can give ... my total respect and obedience."

Choosing the Christian value of unselfishness

Amidst the popular creed of “what’s in it for me” that drives commercialism, and the must-have notions about striving for personal success, Christians can provide a much needed contrast. We have received the calling to live a life of “it’s all about Thee”; and give up our self-preoccupation that is inherently sinful.
Yet if there’s one thing that we find difficult about adopting Christian values, it is the fundamental requirement of having to stop being self-centered; difficult when the basic instinct is for our defensive barriers go up to protect the “self”; especially when we are surrounded by selfish worldly messages, and the promotion of self-importance and self-indulgence. It's hard becoming more “people focused” and generous towards others, when our prideful and selfish inclination doesn’t like giving up and missing out on things for itself.
Our selfishness ends with a simple act of volition, the incredible power of the choice to change, and the ongoing will to make those changes a reality. Our choice is to be like our role model of perfection; the self-less life of Jesus Christ. His example, coupled with the Bible’s teachings on love, serve as an eye-opener to the virtues and benefits of reducing selfishness.
Just as Jesus was unselfish in dying for us, followers of Christ are expected to nurture and practice the quality of unselfishness on a daily basis. For us, taking up the cross means dying to sin; and selfishness can be very sinful. The inner urges that make us focus on self will challenge even the most faithful follower. We may think that selfish people are just a bit annoying because they are reluctant to share, but selfish people can also think themselves superior, have issues with authority, and become arrogant or boastful. These are the enormously dangerous issues related to selfishness, and the Bible has a lot to say about them.
About 2,000 years ago, the Apostle Paul summed up what selfishness is like when he stated: “People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy.”  (2 Timothy 3:2 NIV)
Pride and selfishness lies at the core of our corrupted nature and many of the world’s problems. In story after story, and report after report, the news media shows us that rather than heed the advice of teachers, law-makers, doctors and parents; many people who are driven by personal needs, do things that are ultimately risky, foolish, undisciplined, illegal or immoral; turning the six o’clock news into an hour of shameful horrors.  
Put simply, selfishness benefits ourselves; unselfishness benefits other people. The type of people driven by selfishness far out-number those driven by unselfishness. How one lives, thinks, and even speaks; all depends on which side of the “self-line” one takes up residence. It is the character traits bred by selfishness (such as pride, greed, lust and laziness) in comparison to those that are born of unselfishness (such as humility, generosity, trustworthiness and empathy), that highlight the virtuous benefits of becoming less self-centered. To that end, it is the choice and goal of the Christian to do away with all selfishness in order to facilitate living a godly life like that of Christ, that is of benefit to others.
Outlined below with some Biblical examples, are the key traits that highlight the vast differences between those who focus on self, and those who choose to make it less about self and more about benefiting God and others.
Jill's self talk
"From this day forward, more and more, I will find a way and make the effort to benefit someone else."

Authority

If we are selfish, we can long for more power and yearn for the prominence that comes from a position of authority. If we are unselfish, we respect authority, knowing that authority is put in place for the well-being and protection of all.
When God gave the 10 Commandments, it is not by accident that He started with “You shall have no other gods before Me.” (Exodus 20:3 NIV) Within all the realms of authority, He was emphasizing the importance of recognizing His authority first and foremost. Those who are selfish often struggle with this, desiring to be masters of their own destiny, making themselves lord of their own life, by ignoring God. Selfishness has the power to influence and control people, and cause power dissension with authority. But those choosing to avoid unselfishness and humility are willing to choose subservience and embrace their service to the Almighty, and those He has organised to lead them. They heed the call to take up their cross daily, by sacrificing their desires and motives as the only way to counter the sin of usurping God’s sovereign authority over and in their lives. Belief in the Almighty causes humility. It is exemplified by submission to God’s will over and above our own, so that we are not preoccupied with trying to please ourselves, but convinced that pleasing Him is by far the best choice.
"For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry." (1 Peter 4:3 NIV) "You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God." (James 4:4 NIV)
Lucifer is the prime example of an angel with authority, acting pride-fully and selfishly with the ambition of gaining even more authority and power; a case of "power corrupts". The book of Isaiah tells us about this fallen angel.
How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’” (Isaiah 14:12-14 NIV)
Lucifer ambitiously set it in his heart and in his thoughts, that he should have even greater authority. Despite already being one of the mightiest archangels, he did not want to submit to God’s authority or to serve God. He had lofty ambitions for himself, and perhaps he was also jealous of God's power. Eventually it reached the stage where the Devil even tried to cause Jesus to fall from God's grace, by using the self-interest approach as the means to tempt Jesus. Of course he failed, but he still uses this tactic on us. He works through the self-interest of people to bring them down, and to be his spreaders of evil.
People who will stop at nothing to gain power and have no respect for authority, are dangerous. They are driven by insatiable selfish ambitions and are inherently evil. History shows examples of too many men who were power-hungry oppressors, with twisted selfish minds, befallen to the Devil’s influences. They cheat and lie and kill to get what they want. These selfish people crave power and authority at any expense, and it is their means to defy God's authority over them.
Jill's self talk
"I use all my wisdom to stay in submission to God's authority, to honor His commands and follow His principles. I build my life upon the Rock that cannot be moved. If I become powerful, it is not for my own sake, but for His."

Superiority

In addition to struggling with authority issues, selfish people tend to see themselves as better than others. While this is often false, it makes them susceptible to false praise and targeted propaganda. A humble mindset avoids these delusions of grandeur.
Investigating the Devil’s approach towards Eve in the Garden of Eden, it becomes evident that superiority is another strategy used to deceive man through our self-interest. “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.” (Genesis 3:4-6 NIV) Hearing that she could gain knowledge and be “like God”, and thinking that the fruit was “desirable for gaining wisdom”, Eve let the temptation of personal benefit, instantaneous gratification, and becoming more superior overtake her sense of good judgment.
On the other hand, unselfish people are less tempted by the notion of being better than others. Christians are conscious of the paradoxical message of Jesus in terms of giving precedence to others. “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.” (Mark 9:35 NIV) This is because there is much value in Christian service. The value is the benefit it provides to others. The irony is that Christians who are willing to put themselves last, who adhere to the path of servant-hood, will end up as superior in the eyes of the Lord, because they humbly behave in ways that are considerate to others. God's view is that giving consideration to others is wise, and it was exemplified by the life of Jesus, who did not seek equality with God.
"In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus, Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing, by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place, and gave him the name that is above every name." (Philippians 2:6-9 NIV) 
The Apostle Paul wrote “For the grace given to me I warn everyone among you not to estimate and think of himself more highly than he ought [not to have an exaggerated opinion of his own importance], but to rate his ability with sober judgement, each according to the degree of faith apportioned by God to him. After all, we are all made from the dust of the ground, regardless of one’s name, purpose, occupation, or financial status, we are all nothing without God.” (Romans 12:3 AMP) If our faith is paramount, we will endeavor to humbly exercise our God-given gifts to their full potential, but without being prideful or feeling superior in ourselves. The Kingdom of God is structured differently to that of the world we know. In God's Kingdom "all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted." (Luke 14:11 NIV)
Pride makes us have an exaggerated opinion of ourself, and tries to keep ourself exalted, and not care about others. Pride can affect us by making us greedy, and greedy people behave selfishly. They are inclined to withhold their giving from others, as they think that they are more important, and they deserve to keep everything rather than share it with those who are needful. They are less likely to listen to others, or show empathy, or trust other people; simply because in feeling superior they perceive other people as inferior. Superiority breeds both conceit and contempt. The arrogant person wants to be in control and expects others to serve him. But to be unselfish requires us to consider others better than ourselves. If we don't then we are allowing all the evils of pride and selfishness to potentially influence us. We can exalt others above ourselves by relinquishing our selfish motives, unpacking our selfish baggage and agendas; and embracing the opportunities of being empathetic, altruistic, giving to and serving others. Those who really excel in integrity don't act as superior, they are noticeably humble. In being humble they receive God's grace; and in receiving the gifts of God's grace, they become more valuable and effective in the Kingdom.
Jill's self talk
"It is the Christian way and my way, to count other's welfare important. If I suffer in the process of giving them a hand, then I'm happy it's my pain for their gain."
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