Selfishness: The Kingdom’s Arch Nemesis?
Selfishness is surely the portal through which evil floods our world and the greatest obstacle to Kingdom advance. It’s also the root of all unhappiness. One-half of our problems come from wanting our own way; the other half comes from getting our way. It’s so tempting to conduct our lives cafeteria-style: self-service.
Jesus famously painted the stunning picture of a prevailing church that, authorised from heaven, would advance His Kingdom and plunder the very councils of evil in our world. “I will build My church,”is a statement of intent you can bank the bank on (Matthew 16:18, 19).
Yet, in the very next breath, He brings us from the lofty heights of this inspiring vision to the gritty reality of exactly what “timber material” He requires to build His Kingdom-advancing ecclesia.
“If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Matthew 16:24).
The connection is not just unmistakable … it’s almost chilling. Jesus builds His ecclesia with God-pursuing, self-denying, cross-carrying living stones. The Kingdom advances and the church lives when we die to self.
So, what does it mean to carry our cross? For me, Roy Hession explained this best: “When our will crosses His will, to carry our cross means we choose His will over our will”.
Selfishness carves a black hole in our soul that consumes every trace of life from us. Driven by the taskmasters of self-preservation and self-advancement, we become enslaved by self-absorption, and corrupt our potential for Kingdom advance. Selfishness makes for a very small life.
True life and freedom, however, lie on the path of selflessness. Only when we live for something bigger than our own lot are we delivered from the straight-jacket of a life obsessed with me, myself and I. “A life that is all about me is not important enough to give my life to” (Erwin McManus).
And the paradox is profound: when we lose our lives for His sake, when we die to self, it’s then we find our true, unspoilt beauty in Him (Matthew 16:25-27).