By Tim Russ
(Proverbs 18:1 NIV) An unfriendly man pursues selfish ends; he defies all sound judgment.
In the beginning there was God. God created the angels to be his servants. The universe was in harmony. All the angels looked upon God and worshipped him. Then the best angel; the favorite angel of God; the guardian of God’s house looked in a mirror and saw himself. He decided that he had attributes that made him worthy of worship. He began persuading the other angels of this and a rebellion took place.
Satan, God’s highest angel, exercised very bad judgment. He did not look at the entire situation in which he found himself. As a result he only had part of the information. He found the information that he wanted in order to achieve the goals he wanted to achieve. Once he had a basis to justify his quest he stopped looking at other information.
The problem with selfishness is that it only points inward. It has been said that no man is an island. None of us can live without others. When our focus is strictly pointing inside ourselves we have a distorted view of life. Our continual inward focus changes our perspectives on a long term basis. Each time we make another decision that serves us and excludes others we risk seeing the universe in such a way that nobody else matters.
We often hear that nobody will look out for us like we look out for ourselves. We are told to put ourselves first. This is not the way God would have us live. This is the way Satan chose to live and it is the way he wants all of us to live. By persuading us to live with us being the number one person in our lives he has effectively transferred his rebellion virus to our lives. He has infected us with his evil.
God’s way is to have us put him first, others second and ourselves last. That does not mean that we cannot do nice things for ourselves or view ourselves as important. God sees all of us as uniquely important in his plan for the universe. To see ourselves as less than that would be just as distorted as seeing ourselves to be all important.
As we turn our focus to God and others we shift from an inward view to an outward view. When we have an inward viewpoint it is as if we are a black hole that is constantly fighting to devour everything it can and lets go of nothing. When we have an outward viewpoint it is as if we are a super nova ever expanding to shine brilliant light and to give life a vast area around us. Just as a black hole is full of darkness we are full of darkness when we are selfish. As a super nova provides brilliant light we will also be a light of testimony to God’s grace when we put others first.
(Psalms 119:36 NIV) Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain.