Six types of selfishness


R W Glenn


In 2 Cor 5:15, the Apostle Paul says that Jesus died not so that our sins could be forgiven or that we could go to heaven when we die (though both of those things are certainly true); instead, he gives a purpose for the death of Christ that is a much more "present tense" reality. He says that Jesus died so that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

What does this imply about who you are and what you need to be rescued from? It implies that you are selfish and that therefore you need to be rescued from you.

As I thought about this, six types of selfishness in my own life came to the surface, which, if I wasn't confident that Christ died to kill the, might leave me in despair. But since I know that Jesus, because of his great love for me, died so that I would no longer be shackled to my little life, I am free to admit my selfishness to him (and to you). Hope this helps:

  1. Self-focus: I start to lose interest in a conversation that's not about me or in a story that I'm not telling.
  2. Self-glorification: I do what I do to make a name for myself, to get noticed, to get recognition, or to be seen as someone important.
  3. Self-obsession: My internal dialogue is all about me. How do I look? How do I feel? What should I do? Why didn't so-and-so acknowledge me? 
  4. Self-rule: Me determining the rules of my life, silently or not so silently demanding that others keep my commandments.
  5. Self-righteousness: Not thinking that I'm better than others in the traditional sense of the term, but looking down my nose at people who don't realize they're bad like me.
  6. Self-reliance: Living as if I don't need divine intervention to do life, which especially manifests itself in pockets of prayerlessness.

I have been very forthcoming, now how about you? You are selfish, too. There is at least something about your life that you can describe with the prefix "self" attached. And if you're a Christian, you can admit it. The Lord Jesus died for it, no longer holds it against you, and gives you power by his Spirit to say no to it even in the throes of your most self-indulgent binge. What a savior! The loving savior of the lamentably selfish.