Is it OK for Christians to be selfish?

3 min read.

John 16:7
Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. 

I love the language here- Jesus didn’t say it was to His advantage, He said it was to your advantage. Selfishness isn’t always a bad word. There are some things in life that have no usefulness to anyone but you. It doesn’t advance the Kingdom, it doesn’t enhance the school, it’s just to your advantage. Now, is this OK?

Before you dismiss the idea- please understand I’m aware of the data. If books are to be considered, out of the last 1.5 million books, the word “get” is becoming much more common while the word “give” is used considerably less. The thing is- our generation does talk about being generous but only when it doesn’t actually cost us anything. We talk about sharing resources that we don’t actually use ourselves. As such, it’s crazy to suggest we embrace a functional selfishness.

But!

At this moment, I’m writing to those in the Church who are actually generous and who do actually share. These are the ones who are giving and serving and helping and for those…it’s OK for you to embrace God sending you a personal advantage. This message has different advantages in different contexts. If you are living outside of faith the advantage is conviction of sin that leads you to faith. If you are living inside of faith, the advantage is all truth. All truth includes help for all things.

The Holy Spirit was sent to help you. YOU. This gives you an advantage. And this advantage is in many spheres including Kingdom future and life now. 

So, what now do you need help with today?

And…do you believe the Holy Spirit will help you?

Will the Holy Spirit help you succeed at work, help you parent, help you manage your house, help you… ? We absolutely believe He will help us prophesy and witness and pray and do “spiritual” stuff that helps others but will He help us do “personal” stuff?

Well- God sent a raven to feed a prophet (1Ki 17:6), floated a borrowed axe head for a preacher’s kid (2Ki 6:6), directed a fish with a coin in it’s mouth to a disciple’s hook (Mt 17:27) and filled a bunch of guy’s boats with so many fish that they sank (Lk 5:6-7). These personal advantages Jesus did for others, He will do for you, through the ministry of the Helper. 

Therefore, sometimes the help is selfish- and that’s OK. 

Listen, there must be times of refreshing (Acts 3:20) for all of us. Sure, let’s push hard to create a legacy but let’s push equally as hard (though less in terms of time) to create leisure. Work hard, play hard is real. We need to embrace the idea that the Holy Spirit just may be leading us to slow down at strategic times. He may be leading us to vacation without the kids this year. He may also be leading throughout the development of an amazing presentation that sets us up for promotion. All truth includes all of life.

How do we receive such help? 

Jesus went away and sent the Helper within us (Ro 8:9). The Word that dwelled among us was in front of us. The Holy Spirit sent to us is within us. That means the Holy Spirit within us is harder to discern than the Gospel in black and white. But if we understand the similarities- the relationship is easier. 

So, just as false prophets competed with Jesus, false emotions compete with the Holy Spirit. Words like intuition and feelings describe these competing forces. These forces must be diminished to allow the whisper of the Holy Spirit to be more prominent. We do this by putting the Gospel in the center of life. 

Example. When we submit to the Gospel in marriage matters, the heart regarding marriage matters can be trusted. If we do not submit in marriage matters, the heart can’t be trusted.

Subordination to the Gospel in any area is called humility. Humility always precedes success in every area of life (Pr 22:4). Humility positions us to discern the Helper within so we can follow Him with confidence. However, you can’t hear the “within you” Helper if you haven’t first submitted to the “right in front of you” Gospel. 

That’s it- have a thrilling, advantageous week following the Helper.

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