“Tired of being the BIGGER person”
Have you ever said these words or thought these words? “Man I’m always the bigger person? I’m tired of being the bigger person?” Or “I always apologize first. I always reach out and initiate why can’t they ever reach out first?” Or “Man I’m tired of getting my feelings hurt. I’m tired of no one caring about how I feel or what I’m going through.” Or “I always do things for them but they never do anything for me in return.” If we’re honest with ourselves we ALL have stated these words before or thought them. And if I’m honest it’s something that I have struggled with over the years and even still struggle with today. It took me being honest and real with myself for changes within my internal being to take place about my own selfishness. So excuse my brutal honesty but what I will be stating in this post is to help and heal you. It’s not meant to hurt you but help you. All the statements I wrote at the very beginning of this blog are just fancy ways of saying to yourself and to others, “I’m selfish and I’m only thinking of me.” If you don’t agree…just take a minute and read a little bit more of what I have to say. Trust me when I say this a judgment free zone. I’m writing this not to be harsh, but to be honest with you about a struggle that every human being deals with on a daily basis. I also write this to help you overcome the spirit of selfishness that seeks to infiltrate your heart and mind every day you live.
“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 3:15-16
The “Selfish Mentality”
We live in a day and age where it’s all about “self” and all about “me!” The 21st century screams SELFISHNESS! Selflessness is always an afterthought never the first thought. It’s constantly in grained in our minds that we need to think about ourselves, our own money, our own career, our own feelings, and all the things that “we” want. Love according to the world is made to be something that makes “us feel good,” gives “us butterflies”, and it’s about how amazing someone or something can me “us” feel. It’s so crazy how what the bible teaches is so backwards to how we actually live our lives. The “selfish” spirit is a serious epidemic that needs to be put to death. Even among Christians, we try to dress selfishness up and hide it behind fancy clothing and important titles but selfishness will always be selfishness no matter how hard we try to dress it up. We must get to the root of the matter and stop dancing around the issue! Sin is sin! And selfishness is sin! Period point blank. Throughout the bible, God constantly tells us that we should not be selfish but show love and consider others before ourselves.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” –Phillipians 2:3-5
The Deceiving Spirit of Selfishness
You see one thing about the “selfish spirit” is it can be deceiving. Deceiving to ourselves and to others. It can have us thinking that we’re doing “good” or showing “love” when in actuality our heart’s intent is a hidden selfish motive. I’ll give you some practical examples to help you better understand what I’m trying to say. Sometimes we do things not because we are being self-less and showing true love but because we do something expecting to get something for ourselves out of it. For example, a husband may take his wife out dinner, take her to her favorite store and buy her all these nice things but his motive for doing that is not fully simply out of love and to admonish and adore her. But because he knows that if he does these nice things at the end of the night he’s going to get a reward once they get home. Or a friend may call another friend and tell the friend, “Hey I’m just calling to check on you.” But in actuality that friend is not calling to genuinely check on that person and inquire about what that friend is going through but they wanted to call to vent and get their feelings out about a horrible day that they had. Or a child may clean and do his or her chores not out of a genuine servant’s heart or for the glorifying of God but be doing it with the hopes that their parent would let them go to the movies later that evening with their friends. Or a preacher may be preaching and teaching the word of God not out of a genuine heart for God and to help and encourage the people of God but he’s doing it for the praises and accolades of men.
“He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At the time each will receive his praise from God.” -1 Corinthians 4:5
You see all these examples that I just gave are the “selfish spirit” in disguise. We have to be careful about doing things like this and test our hearts and make sure we’re doing things out of a pure heart for God. Selfishness is sin that needs to be reckoned with! We have to stop lying to ourselves within our hearts and be honest about our selfish and hidden motives. Pure love is never based on what someone or something else does for us. Love in its purest form simply loves because it is love. It doesn’t expect, it doesn’t judge, it doesn’t hold grudges, and doesn’t think of self it ALWAYS thinks about the betterment and wellbeing of someone else before itself. Love constantly seeks to stir goodness and kindness towards and in others.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.” -1 Corinthians 13:4-7
I want you take an honest moment right now. Stop everything you’re doing and ask yourself this question. “Am I a selfish person?” Take a moment and seriously think about it. Do you always think about yourself before you think of others? Do you do things for others with the expectation that they will do something for you in return? In your relationships with people whether it be family, friends, children, husband, wife, boyfriend, or girlfriend…do you love with a selfless spirit? Are your good deeds toward them based on how they treat you that day or based off your willingness to please and glorify God? If they never did a thing for you ever again or were never nice or kind to you ever again would you still treat them with relentless and self-less love? If they never made you feel good or gave you anything you wanted or did anything for you that you wanted would you still treat them with genuine love?
“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.”- Romans 12:9
You see genuine, nitty-gritty, real, blood on the cross type love is a love that LOVES IN SPITE OF! It has no strings or stipulations attached to it. It simply loves because it seeks to glorify and honor God. That’s the type of love that we all should seek to have. You want to know the number one reason for divorce? It’s not cheating, it’s not money issues, and it’s not “irreconcilable differences”…it’s SELFISHNESS! You want to know the number one cause of family dysfunction and drama….SELFISHNESS! You want to know the number one reason for sexual sins or any sin for that matter…SELFISHNESS. You want to know the number one reason of why friendships and relationships fall apart or people hold grudges…SELFISHNESS! You want to know why there’s hatred, racism, and evilness in the world…SELFISHNESS! The “selfish spirit” has been present from the very beginning since sin first came into the world. Sin came into the world first through Satan and his own selfish and prideful spirit to be greater than God. Then sin continued to develop due to Adam’s selfish desire to not listen to God and due to Eve’s own selfish desire to eat of something that her husband and God told her not to. That’s why it’s SO imperative that every day we seek to kill and destroy the “selfish spirit” of sin. If we want God’s spirit to truly remain alive in us we must seek to kill the fleshy, carnal, and selfish man within us.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit, Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.” –Galatians 5: 22-26
My Honesty Moment
There have been many moments in my life where I have been SUPER SELFISH. Like for real…all I did was think about myself and what I wanted. Hardly ever did I stop and think about someone else, their feelings, their struggles, their life, or their needs. It was just me me me me me! But it took God humbling me to realize the reality of my own selfishness. Now that I’m aware of it, it’s something that I have to constantly fight to overcome EVERY SINGLE DAY. It’s not any easy task but with the help of the beautiful Holy Spirit most days I’m able to overcome it as long as I submit to the Spirit’s will. Many times when I feel the “selfish spirit” creeping on me or I get in arguments with my sister, my parents, or my friends I have to tell myself, “Ashley you’re being real selfish right now. You’re in your feelings and you’re only thinking of yourself. Did you take the time out and think about how they might feel? You’re not the only one who has the ability to feel hurt by something. Sometimes you’re rude, you’re selfish, you’re inconsiderate, and all you think about is yourself. You need to get out your feelings and get in God’s word and realize that life is not about you and how you feel but it’s ALL about God and glorifying Him.” In the heat of a moment or circumstance it’s not always easy to get rid of the “selfish spirit” and put on the “unselfish spirit.” But I want to encourage you that just because it’s not easy does not mean you should stop trying. We all struggle with it and God wants us to everyday seek to improve ourselves and become more like Him and His beautiful depiction of love. You’re not alone, we’re all in this fight together, just don’t stop swinging!
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient bearing one another in love.” –Ephesians 4:2
Looking to the Story of Cross Rids the Selfish Spirit
The message and story of Christ bleeds and screams SELF-LESS-NESS! Nothing about God the Father, Jesus Christ, or the Holy Spirit is selfish. God is all about promoting true love…which is pure selflessness. Selfish statements, thoughts, and actions undermine and diminish the cross of Christ. It’s literally like a slap in the face to God when we think with a “selfish spirit.” How dare we say we’re tired of “being the bigger person” or “we’re tired of always being the “initiator.” We have no room to fix our lips to say that. What if Jesus said, “You know what God I’m tired of hanging on this cross for these people that don’t even care about me. I’m calling my angels and I’m coming down.” If Jesus would of did that we would have no hope and be burning in the very pits of hell forever. The moment we became a Christian was the moment we told God, “Hey I’m choosing to follow you over myself. I’m choosing to be like you and obey your word.” Every child of God should be seeking and striving to be an imitator of Christ Jesus himself. God demonstrated such amazingly selfless love. God put the “I” in initiator. He was the first demonstration of true love. He sent his son to die for wretched, sinful, disgusting, so unworthy people like us! But yet He still reached out His beautiful hand of love and took the first step and said…”Hey I want you! I love you! I care about you!” And time and time again He does that for us very single day. Every time we sin He still forgives, He is still patient with us, He still loves us, He still is the initiator and continues to reach out to us even when we don’t reach back. He is patient and long suffering and still loves us even in the moments where we question or hurt Him.
“But God demonstrated his own love for us in this, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” –Romans 5:8
In our relationships with people, friends, and family we should show this same relentless love. For the record being the “bigger person” or “being the initiator” is not a privilege nor is it something you should get a pat on the back for! You are SUPPOSED to be the bigger person! You are SUPPOSED to be the initiator and you are SUPPOSED to show love no matter what. You are a child of God therefore you should be seeking to act like God. When it comes to righteousness there is NO such thing as loving too much or initiating too much or forgiving too much! We can never love or forgive enough! So we need to put away devilish and prideful thoughts of “I’m tired of being the bigger person or doing the right thing.” We should never get tired of doing the right thing, glorifying God or showing love. So the next time you have thoughts of hating someone, giving up on doing the right thing, not showing love, not being forgiving, not thinking of others before yourself and not being the initiator you need to remind yourself that those thoughts are demonic, devilish, prideful, and not of God. God has called you to a higher standard. You don’t do good just so people can do good to you but you do good because it’s the right thing to do! You do good for the glorifying of God. You do good to show that Christ didn’t die in vain. You do good to promote the love of Christ. So put your pride aside, humble yourself, and obey God from a sincere heart. Be encouraged my friend!
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” -1 John 4:7
10 Key Steps to Take to Overcome Selfishness
- Acknowledge your sin of selfishness, admit that you have been a selfish person, and repent before the Lord. (1 John 1:5-10)
- Fill your heart with the word of the Lord and study and meditate on scriptures that address the selfish spirit and promote the demonstration of love. (Hebrews 4:12)
- Seek to be led by the Holy Spirit of God and not the selfish spirit of yourself. When the Holy Spirit leads you to do or think something don’t hesitate do it right then and there! (1 Thessalonians 5:19)
- Every day make a conscious effort to do selfless acts, and random acts of kindness and of love. Not in hopes of getting anything in return but truly loving from a sincere heart. Call someone you haven’t spoken to in a while, go visit someone, send a nice gift etc. (Galatians 6:10)
- In moments of disagreement with family, friends, your spouse, or people don’t react with rage or your emotions but seek to listen for their hurt and seek to understand what they are feeling. (Ephesians 4:32)
- Be an INITAITOR and a GIVER not a REACTOR AND RECEIVER. (Ephesians 4:1-3)
- Always acknowledge your wrong first before you seek to point the finger at someone else. (James 5:16)
- Constantly look to the cross of Jesus for a wonderful example and act of selfishness. (1 John 3:16)
- LOVE IN SPITE OF! (John 13:34-35)
- Pray without ceasing to God for the strength to overcome your “selfish spirit.” (1Thessalonians 5:17)
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8
Hello! As I read this…all I could think was “What if I CAN’T be selfless?” Is there a such thing as being intrinsically not able to? I look in myself…and though I have sporadic periods of genuine love a care of someone else, they are more of the exception than the rule. I’m also afraid of being selfless because I fear everything I’ll lose as a result (I’m convinced that it will not be pleasant, and that my own needs will get sacrificed with it…and that I won’t be happy. Denying myself sounds absolutely miserable. How can I be expected to keep up such an effort of selflessness if I’m miserable while doing it?) Yes, God commands us to deny ourselves. And yet, even if I set out to do such, it feels like it would be out of spiritual obligation as opposed to being genuine love. See, I don’t even know if I CAN love God enough to do that. I don’t feel it (I love what He has done for me at the cross and praise Him for that and for Who He is–but that only takes me so far. Which brings me back to my original question: What if I CAN’T be selfless? (I’ve tried, but even that effort has had an alterior motive of doing it just to “be good”. I have no clue of having the God kind of loving others “just because”…it is completely foreign and I am not convinced I have it in me, to be honest. Maybe I’ve shown it in very brief, sporadic moments, but…those are few and far between.
Yes, I know I SHOULD love others. Yes I know I SHOULD be selfless. But I simply can’t get there yet…I don’t know if I have a gear in my heart that says “selfless”. I certainly can’t feel it very much (and I go by feeling a lot–because I have a lot of trouble trusting what I can’t feel. But that’s another topic, lol). All these things I know I SHOULD do–but the problem is, ya can’t love out of obligation. It has to be real…and, as I said, I don’t know if I have such love.
Sorry for venting, but I have nowhere else to go with these thoughts right now. A Google search on being selfish led me here. Thanks for your blog–God Bless!
I want to sincerely thank you for taking the time to read my blog and express your thoughts. I appreciate your honesty and transparency. What God is patiently teaching me is this: The road to self-less can only be paved through growing in intimacy and connection with God. For it is God that teaches us and shows us how to be truly loving and self sacrificial. It’s a process and journey. It does not happen over night. The strength does not lie within us by ourselves but the strength is in the Lord. Looking to Him and His word for guidance is what will grow us in self-lessness. I hope this helps.
Hi Bryan! I totally identify where you are coming from and I have felt the same way too. The good news is that you can’t make yourself selfless. God makes us selfless and loving. That is the power of the gospel, God transforms our nature and our minds to become selfless. Our part is to meditate on scripture, ask Him to transform us and believe that He will. God also doesn’t want us to be miserable in our selflessness, that’s a poor example of Christianity. Look at the following scriptures:
Hebrews 13 :20 “Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shephers of the sheep, through the blood of everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will (including becoming selfless), working in you what is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever Amen.”
Philippians 2:13 “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.”
So God will transform us to grow in love and to be less selfish. Now what about our interests? What does the bible say about that?
Psalm 37:25 “I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread.”
Philippians 4:19 “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
And regarding genuinely liking being selfless –
2 Corinthians 9:7-10
‘You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.”And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.As the Scriptures say, “They share freely and give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will be remembered forever.”
For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, He will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you.’
“You have given me greater joy than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine.”
So we meditate on these scriptures and ask God to transform us, to be selfless. He will do it. And if He wants us to be selfless, HE will supply the means for selflessness. We will never run out because He is the source. And He can give us genuine joy in doing this. A last point is that God promises to take care of us, as we take care of His work. This gives us freedom to be selfless. In all this we have the Holy Spirit to give us discernment and wisdom about how to love and be selfless in a way that will not enable selfishness or dependency in others, so that even our selflessness is rightly expended.
These are the things God has revealed to me and I hope you are encouraged!
Wow thank you for this beautiful and encouraging response. God bless you!
Thank you for this🙌❤❤😃I needed to read!
Thank you for taking the time to read! God bless you! Continue to stay encouraged. 😊
Thank you for this article Ashley. I really needed to hear this. For years my wife has been telling me that I was selfish. I would hear her but I really wasn’t paying attention to what she was really saying. I basically felt I wasn’t a selfish person I just did something that was selfish. I just didn’t feel or agree that I was a selfish person until almost a week ago.
I had to admit that I was truly a selfish person. She didn’t force me to say it but it just all came out and I felt really bad by not listening to her. I started to go down all the times (as many as I could think of) she told me I was selfish or being selfish; I was hurt by how much I put her through from being so selfish.
It bothers me that it took this long for me to finally realize how selfish of a person I was being to my wife. We have a pretty marriage, but this part of me doesn’t make our marriage a healthy one.
Thanks again for your article. I find myself reading it daily now.
Thank you Chris for taking the time to read my blog. Praise be to God that He was able to use my article to encourage you. Sometimes truly seeing the broken parts of ourselves can be hard. But it’s through honest self reflection, assessment, and God’s Word, that we can see ourselves and those areas we need to grow in. I will pray for you and your wife’s marriage that you all walk in love and love one another from a place of selflessness. Many blessings to you and please continue to stay encouraged!
Amen! This really has blessed me! I’m at a point now where I’m tired of people not telling me thank you! For gifts, checking on them, etc! But now I have to examine myself, am I doing this for me? Or to show the God in me? This was an eye opener, I’m being selfish! It’s time I put the devil under my feet and move forward to show the love of Christ in me, no matter how I feel! God bless you sister, and thank you for your testimony! Thank you for listening to the spirit of the Lord and writing this! I know I can kill this spirit of selfishness in the name of Jesus!
So glad this was able to encourage you! God bless you!