Blessing Blocker: Selfishness

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such "wisdom" does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

James 3:13-16 NIV

We can all think of someone (without even trying) who we would call selfish. They scheme, plot and step on others to get what they want. But selfishness, just like any act of the sinful nature, is deceptive. You may have some areas in your life where you’ve unknowingly allowed it to stifle you. This one may seem obvious, but continue reading to see other ways this Bessing Blocker works.

Selfish Act 1: Personal Neglect

Do not neglect your gift….

1 Timothy 4:14 NIV

God has given you the gift of a body fit for royalty. You have been equipped with every tool necessary to carry out His original plan for your life. However, many Christians are defiling their temples (bodies) with food, drugs, alcohol, excessive working (yes you, workaholics), and many other poisonous behaviors. Understand that David, Samson and even old man Abraham were physically gifted and equipped for their callings. Personal neglect—including your physical body, emotional and spiritual state—selfishly means you don’t care about God, your family or any person God may want you to touch. Heavy, huh? You’re not allowed to say, “It’s my body and my life!” No, it’s God’s body and He gives you life! Paul wrote, “If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are (1 Corinthians 3:17).” Just look up the verses that contain the word defile in the bible and see how God feels about your life and your body. Personal neglect is a form of selfishness and it is a Blessing Blocker.
Selfish Act 2: Idleness
In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers, to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you….2 Thessalonians 3:6-7
In addition to your job outside the Kingdom of God, you should a job inside it as well. When was the last time you volunteered to do something? Do you have a job in your home church? The early apostles not only preached, but they worked! Stephen was a food distributor! Idleness is a selfish act because you are actually choosing not to contribute your time and talents to the Kingdom. If everyone in the body of Christ was doing their respective jobs, churches everywhere would not be strapped for volunteers. It’s not about you. Stop letting selfishness block The Blessing by being idle. Be a blessing to the rest of us by donating three or four dozen of those awesome cookies you bake! And, I’ll throw in a free strength training session for everyone who indulges on them! Ecclesiastes 11:6 says, Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let not your hands be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well."

Selfish Act 3: Serving Mammon

No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stand by and be devoted to the one and despise and be against the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (deceitful riches, money, possessions, or whatever is trusted in).
Matthew 6:24 (AMP)

The truth of this verse is evident everywhere you look. Not only has the world been serving mammon, or money, but so have many Christians. In serving God, we agree to enter into financial covenant with Him. Presenting our tithe, offerings and gifts of love to the Lord and His prophets ushers The Blessing into our lives. Continuing to serve mammon displays selfishness and blocks The Blessing. God promises to bless all the work of our hands—including our finances. But, how can He do so when, according to Matthew, He’s not even our Master! Not only will He bless your finances, but He will show you where to dig! Before you get offended or defensive, hear me out. This is basically a selfish refusal to prosper. When you don’t prosper, your spouse, children and the Kingdom lose out. You need some God on your money! Stop serving mammon and doing things the world’s way. Don’t be selfish with your finances another day. God may want you to sponsor a missionary or help build a building—He may want your child to attend some prestigious university! If you’ve been selfish by refusing to prosper, how will you answer God’s call?

I’ll conclude with two passages.
Exodus 36:2-6
Then Moses summoned Bezalel and Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the LORD had given ability and who was willing to come and do the work. They received from Moses all the offerings the Israelites had brought to carry out the work of constructing the sanctuary. And the people continued to bring freewill offerings morning after morning. So all the skilled craftsmen who were doing all the work on the sanctuary left their work and said to Moses, "The people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the LORD commanded to be done." Then Moses gave an order and they sent this word throughout the camp: "No man or woman is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary." And so the people were restrained from bringing more, because what they already had was more than enough to do all the work.
Acts 4:31-35
And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness. And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, and laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.
Two examples—one Old Testament and one New Testament—show the absence of selfishness and the flow of The Blessing. These people were obviously not neglecting themselves (Selfish Act 1), or they would not have been able to perform the physical or spiritual aspects of their callings. Obviously none of them were idle (Selfish Act 2) because the work got done—and joyfully at that! Finally, the people of God during those times did not serve mammon (Selfish Act 3). As a result, everyone had more than enough!

Are you convinced now? Don’t let the subtleness of selfishness block The Blessing in your life. Conduct a personal inventory. If you have a spouse and children old enough, have them do the same. God so loved the world that He gave…. How can you serve as God this giving and be selfish? Why, the very reason He wants you to be selfless and give, is for Him to give The Blessing to you again and again.

--Shon Stevens is a writer and professional fitness instructor. Shon lives in Texas with her husband and two children.
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