The Spirit of “Selfishness” ?

selfish3     “Now, when Jesus heard these things, He said . . . . Yet lackest thou one thing . . . If thou wilt be perfect (perfected, made whole), Go and sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven. And take up thy cross, and follow Me . . . !”     Matthew 19:21 & Luke 18:22

For if any man will come after Me (be My disciple), let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me !  For whosoever will save (preserve) his life shall lose it: but I say unto you, Whosoever will lose his life for My sake, the same shall save it . . . !”     Luke 9:23-24

The property that God has entrusted to the stewardship of man, is not to be hoarded. O that men and women would arouse to this fact, and venture something for the Truth’s sake. Trust in God should lead us to commit the keeping of our temporal (worldly) matters to Him; but too much time is spent in calculating consequences.

Worldly gain, laying up treasure on earth, is the mania. But Christ said, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”   Matthew 6:20

     The worldly treasure is a lodestone to hold the thoughts and control the judgment. There are great pecuniary (financial)  advantages to be gained by investing means in various worldly enterprises; and the great majority of Christian professors press on in this path. They pursue their own ends as eagerly as if to gain the world would entitle them to eternal life. They selfishly waste the substance entrusted to them, expending money needlessly for the gratification of pride.

Worldly requirements,–eating, dressing, recreation, the embellishment of their houses,–use up their means. And when their tithes and offerings are called for, and their energies are needed in work for their fellow-men, they withhold from God this proof of a love that He is every way worthy to receive; for the vital energies and the impulses of the soul have been exhausted in the struggle after worldly gain.

     Selfishness contracts the heart; benevolence expands it. Selfishness is a demon whose name is legion (it manifests itself in thousands of ways); in every age it has seemed that this demon would drive Christ and the spirit of self-sacrifice out of the world. Through its influence the church is weak when it ought to be a power. Who shall tell how many souls have been robbed of the gospel (Glad Tidings) of Christ by the apathy of Christians in withholding means and personal effort? The church has thus put out her own light, and has become the by-word of infidels (they mock us).

     Selfishness exists everywhere, in hearts where it is least suspected. It is this curse of selfishness, in the various phases in which it is manifested, that makes so many joyless Christians.

God has entrusted to them means to be used in building up His Kingdom; but they are not using His gifts to His glory. They are not working in harmony with Christ; they are lovers of self more than lovers of God and His Word. This is why there is often contention in the church, until fault-finding, envy, jealousy, and strife for the supremacy become the native element. Inordinate self-love lies at the foundation of so much contention in the churches.

     What has Jesus done to rescue a lost world from perdition? He did not send an angel to redeem the fallen world; but for our sakes He became a “man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” The love (self-sacrifice) of Christ –how deep, how broad, how full!   He designed to save (deliver, set free, rescue, heal and restore) man by His Own infinite sacrifice.

The cross of Calvary was to be to men a convincing argument that His interest and theirs were identical. When He ascended to heaven, and the portals of the city were thrown open to Him with rejoicing, His plea to the Father was, “I will that they also whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am, that they may behold [share] My glory !”

Note:   It is this glory, the character of Jehovah, which was revealed to Moses in Exodus 33:18 – 34:7 !

     Now those whom Christ calls His Own, whom He has sacrificed so much for, will not, cannot, enjoy anything selfishly. Their interest will be identified with that of their Redeemer. To every one of them will be given opportunities to show their love for His dear name by consecrating to Him themselves and the possessions He has loaned them on trust. Jesus expects nothing less of them than that the claims of His kingdom, the boundless love He has manifested towards them, will awaken a response in their hearts, an interest that will overbalance every worldly consideration.

     There must be no cessation of benevolent acts. New channels for their outflow will be opening around us in this day of preparation for the Great Event, the coming of Christ in the clouds of heaven. Link after link they form a golden chain of love, binding heart to heart, and all hearts to Christ’s great heart of infinite love.

     When this love takes possession of the heart, the plans devised to spread the Light of Truth and extend the Redeemer’s kingdom will seem too small, the most costly offering too cheap. The icy spirit of selfishness will melt away, and in its place benevolence will well up like a living fountain to overflow and bless.

     I call upon the church and the world to say how God could have done more for the world than He has done. He “so loved the world, that He gave His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have Everlasting Life.”   John 3:16.  He has poured forth upon the world a flood of heavenly Grace* (G5485).

Therefore being by the right hand of GOD exalted, and having received of the Father the Promise of the Holy Spirit, He hath shed forth (poured out, gushed forth) this, which ye now see and hear . . . !”   Acts 2:30-39

The Lord gave the best Gift of heaven, in which all heaven was contained. God so loved the world that He would not suffer it to be possible that the infinite One could do more than has been done !

     He bestowed a Gift that was past all computation, a Gift that aroused in Satan the demon spirit of jealousy, and settled him in his determination to make that Gift of God (the gift of His Holy Spirit) of no avail to man, through his misrepresentation of the Divine character.

The reception of this Gift (the Spirit and mind of Christ) will eradicate from the heart all selfishness, and transform its possessor into the image of Him Who abides in the heart by faith . . .

     The world’s Redeemer estimates the value of the human soul by the price which He has paid for it on Calvary’s cross !

Taken from an article in
Review & Herald, May 22, 1894

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