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Overcoming Self-Centeredness

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Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves.

Philippians 2:3

People who are self-centered aren’t able to please God because self-centeredness is a sin that leads one to focus on self-gratification. The Lord looks at our hearts and our hearts are reflected by our thoughts. Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time (Genesis 6:5). If our thoughts are more focused on self rather than on God and others, then God sees a self-centered heart. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others (Philippians 2:3-4). How can we be humble and value others above self if we are self-centered?

People who lean toward being self-centered usually blame others for their discomfort and try to control the world around them for their own comfort. A self-centered person’s identity normally comes from the world; this can make a person insecure and lead him or her to build themselves up to others. This usually shows itself in a defensive attitude.

If we possess any of these traits, then God most likely sees us as prideful. In addition, God sees as prideful anyone who doesn’t accept Christ as their Savior, as they have become their own god.

The opposite of being prideful is being humble. If we are humble in God’s sight then we are not prideful. Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me (Matthew 16:24). Humble people will deny themselves in order to serve God, because God will always come first in their hearts and minds. Whenever God doesn’t come first in our lives, then our desires come first, which makes us gods unto ourselves.

A humble person has a high self-worth in Christ, and the higher their self-worth the more humble and thankful they become. Their identity is very secure in Christ, eliminating the need for an emotionally driven defensive behavior.

God makes us humble over time as we follow the Spirit. The Spirit will lead us to minister to others just as Jesus did. While ministering to others we reflect the Lord’s love and compassion and this sometimes leads to people accepting Christ. This draws us closer to the Lord and changes our hearts. When our hearts change to be more like the heart of Jesus, we become humble. If a person’s heart doesn’t change it is impossible to be truly humble. A humble heart is a heart of love and compassion that comes from God.

Today check yourself to see if you display any the characteristics of being prideful. Check your thoughts: Are they focused on you and the world more than they are on God? Think of the benefits of being humble and secure. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up (James 4:10).

Let’s Pray: Lord, help me to always be humble and secure in you. Take control of my emotions so I don’t become prideful when people make me angry. Lord fill my heart with your peace at all times, and a heart that responds with your love, compassion, and wisdom. In Jesus name, Amen