VIDEO Escape From Selfishness

 “… and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.” — 2 Corinthians 5:15

Have you ever pondered what gives us the impulse to sin? Have you ever wondered what makes us go against God’s commands despite our good intentions?

I believe that selfishness lies at the root of all sin. I have thought long and hard about this, and I cannot think of any sin that doesn’t originate from selfishness, from placing self rather than God at the center of our lives. Some have suggested that perhaps a person who steals or lies for his child does not act from selfishness, yet our family is bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh, merely an extension of ourselves. So I believe that whatever the sin— lust, hate, pride, theft, murder—at its core, it stems from selfishness. Even good actions are tarnished by selfish motives. A person may study how to win friends and influence people, work hard at self-improvement, and join a church and become active in it, yet all of these acts may spring from purely selfish motives.

Paul exhorts us to something higher. He says, “I am crucified with Christ.” Not only is the Cross a substitution, it is a representation—we must identify ourselves with Christ in His death, crucifying our selfish nature and desires with Him. When we die with Christ, we put to death all our hopes, ambitions, agendas, priorities, and plans. We nail all we desire to the cross, becoming dead to ourselves.

Paul tells us in Romans 6 that we are to reckon ourselves dead with Christ. We must become dead to the flesh and alive in Christ. The next time temptation pulls at you, remember that you have died to sin and become alive in Christ. You have no obligation to your old nature, except to reckon it as dead. This is how we escape from selfishness, the fountainhead of all sin.

““One can be a miser or a savage and be selfish, but not a Christian.””


The Ambassadors’ Ministry of Reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:17-21)

Is It a Sign?

I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart. Psalm 40:8

The offer looked good, and was exactly what Peter needed. After being laid off, this sole breadwinner of a young family had prayed desperately for a job. “Surely this is God’s answer to your prayers,” his friends suggested.

Reading about the prospective employer, however, Peter felt uneasy. The company invested in suspicious businesses and had been flagged for corruption. In the end, Peter rejected the offer, though it was painful to do so. “I believe God wants me to do the right thing,” he shared with me. “I just have to trust He will provide for me.”

Peter was reminded of the account of David meeting Saul in a cave. It seemed like he was being given the perfect opportunity to kill the man hunting him down, but David resisted. “The Lord forbid that I should do such a thing . . . for he is the anointed of the Lord,” he reasoned (1 Samuel 24:6). David was careful to distinguish between his own interpretation of events and God’s command to obey His instruction and do the right thing.

Instead of always trying to look for “signs” in certain situations, let’s look to God and His truth for wisdom and guidance to discern what lies before us. He will help us do what’s right in His eyes.

By:  Leslie Koh

Reflect & Pray

What could help you discern between a personal interpretation of events and what God would want you to do? Whom can you turn to for godly advice?

God, our Provider, grant me the wisdom to discern opportunities before me and the faith to follow Your way, that I might always do what pleases You.

For further study, read Making Decisions God’s Way.

Sunday Reflection: Gifted to Serve

Living in community helps us discover our spiritual gifts and use them to bless others

To get the most out of this devotion, set aside time to read the scriptures referenced throughout.

Have you wondered how to discover your spiritual gifts? There’s an abundance of quizzes and questionnaires online, but as helpful as those resources can be, they’re not authoritative. What if, instead of relying on self-assessments, we approached identifying our gifts as an opportunity to engage our community of believers?

Something beautiful happens when we invite our brothers and sisters in Christ to speak into our lives. In fact, the only way we truly come to know ourselves is in community—seeing and being seen, hearing and being heard, loving and being loved in return. 

Over the next few days and weeks, explore these questions with God: What needs draw my attention? How do I like to help? What needs do others consistently bring to me? What kind of service brings me life? And don’t just stop there. Take time to ask wise and trusted people what gifts they see in you. And always seek confirmation from the Holy Spirit.

Think about it

• Read 1 Corinthians 12:4-7 and 1 Corinthians 14:26. Do you struggle with believing you have a special gift to offer the church? How do these verses affect your perspective? 

No More Tears

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)

Surely this is one of the most glorious promises in the Bible! No more suffering, no more sorrow, no more death! In this present life, in this present world, every one of us must endure suffering and sorrow in various degrees, and eventually death. But our gracious Savior “hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows,” and because “the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all….he was cut off out of the land of the living” (Isaiah 53:4, 6, 8), and He endured for us the awful suffering of death on the cross.

In dying, however, He defeated death, rose from the grave, and is now alive “for evermore” (Revelation 1:18). Thus, He can promise immortal physical bodies that will never die again to all who trust Him.

How can He do this? He “shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself” (Philippians 3:21). “The dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:52).

The believers of pre-Christian days will also share in these blessings. Isaiah recorded a beautiful promise to them, as well as us, hundreds of years before Christ came to make it possible. “He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth:…And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for him…we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation” (Isaiah 25:8-9). HMM

“One Thing Thou Lackest”

Mark 10:13-22

THERE is no more touching scene in all the life of our Lord than His blessing the little children (Matt. 19:13-15; Mark 10:13-16; Luke 18:15-17). Let it never be forgotten that the true Christian is childlike. We often think that the walk of faith is a profound matter that only a few can learn, when really it is a simple matter that few ever reach because they will not unlearn—get down to its simplicity. To be converted and become as little children was our Lord’s way of stating it (Matt. 18:3), but that does not appeal to our vanity and pride, so very few ever meet those plain terms.

The incident of the rich young ruler (Matt. 19:16-22; Mark 10:17-22; Luke 18:18-23) sets forth a model young man who still lacks something and knows it, but does not meet the demand of Christ. How Jesus always put His finger on the weak spot in every life! Here the trouble was in the young man’s great possessions—so that must be removed. He would not be saved by giving up his possessions, but his possessions were the hindrance that must be cleared before he could ever be a disciple.

Some do not like negative preaching today, and they tell us we should never emphasize giving up—but here our Lord certainly did, as in many other cases.

There is irony in the statement that the young man went away grieved because “he had great possessions.” As a matter of fact, he had nothing and had missed his chance of true riches.

Jesus commented on the difficulty of a rich man entering heaven, not because he is rich so much as because he must become as though he had nothing and be poor in spirit, and very few will do that. A rich man need not give up his property unless specially led to do so, but he must be as though he had it not. Our Lord went on to give the parable of the laborers in the vineyard who went to work at different hours, yet each received the same pay (Matt. 20:1-16). It can be understood only in the light of what has just gone before. Peter had just spoken of their having forsaken all to follow Jesus, as though he expected greater reward for the disciples than for others. But we learn here that God has no favorites and that all receive the same reward, in kind if not in degree. The disciples expected greater reward because they followed earlier, but Paul and Stephen and Barnabas outshone most of them later. The whole story is based upon the principle “the first shall be last and the last first.” That principle still is true, and we cannot measure reward by our own estimates, by length of service or any other external considerations.

Many are called with a general calling, but few are chosen because few respond. And there is no favoritism among those chosen. The reward of all servants is to dwell in God’s Presence. Men may have varying capacities for the enjoyment of this reward but God Himself is our reward, as He told Abraham. Above all else stands the sovereignty of God and His right to manage His own business as He pleases. Jesus does not try to teach everything in one parable, and we do wrong to try to cover too much in one lesson. This simply teaches impartiality in God’s rewards.

“The Lord will provide.”

Genesis 45:16-28

Joseph’s meeting with his family could not be long concealed; the happy fact oozed out, and the news was carried to the King himself

Genesis 45:16

They were glad because so great a benefactor of their nation was made happy.

Genesis 45:17-19

take you wagons or chariots

Genesis 45:20

Pharaoh thus delicately and with lordly generosity, spared Joseph any scruples about inviting his kinsmen to dwell in the land; they were to come into the country as the king’s own guests. Observe how he bids them leave all their “stuff” behind, as if he meant to give them so much that would be better that they need not bring their tents or their furniture with them. Certainly, when we come to Jesus, and receive his treasures of grace, all earthly things become mere “stuff” to us.

Genesis 45:22

How Joseph’s goodness contrasted with their former cruelty. “They sent him naked to strangers, he sends them in new and rich liveries; they took a small sum of money for him, he gives them large treasures; they sent his torn coat to his father, he sends variety of costly garments; they sold him to be the load of camels, he sends them home in chariots.” Far greater still is the contrast between our ungenerous treatment of the Lord Jesus and his bountiful returns of grace to us.

Genesis 45:24

He knew them well, and feared that they might begin accusing each other, or might even become envious of Benjamin, as, they had formerly been of himself.

Genesis 45:25, 26

A sad heart is far more ready to believe a mournful falsehood than a joyful truth. When his sons wickedly shewed him Joseph’s coat he said, “Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces,” but when they tell him a true story, he believes them not. It is a pity when despondency makes our judgment lose its balance.

Genesis 45:28

First the words, and then the wagons aided Jacob’s faith, even as the words of Jesus and the gifts of Jesus enable us to believe on him. The venerable patriarch was more glad to hear that his son was “alive,” than that he was “governor over all the land of Egypt.” This was enough for him, and he resolved to have a sight of his beloved one. Where there is true love there will be a desire for communion. Those who love the Son of God will not be willing to live without heavenly fellowship. O may all united here in family worship, see Jesus by faith before they die, when they die, and then for ever.

Jesus, these eyes have never seen

That radiant form of Thine!

The veil of sense hangs dark between

Thy blessed face and mine!

Yet though I have not seen, and still,

Must rest in faith alone;

I love thee, dearest Lord! and will,

Unseen, but not unknown.

When death these mortal eyes shall seal,

And still this throbbing heart,

The rending veil shall thee reveal,

All glorious as thou art

The Importance of Right Relationship with God

The Spirit itself beareth witness with our Spirit, that we are children of God. Romans 8:16

Many men and women are seeking counsellors to aid them with their confessed feelings of emptiness and inadequacy. Each seems to have a plea about becoming a “whole person.”

The importance of coming back into right relationship with God cannot be overestimated as we seriously think and study and pray.

By the mysterious operation of the Spirit of God in the new birth, that which is called by Peter “the divine nature” enters the deep-in core of the believer’s heart and establishes residence there. “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his,” for “the Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God” (Rom. 8:9, 16).

Such a one is a true Christian, and only such. Baptism, confirmation, the receiving of the sacraments, church membership—these mean nothing unless the supreme act of God in regeneration also takes place!

Religious externals may have a meaning for the God-inhabited soul; for any others they are not only useless but may actually become snares, deceiving them into a false and perilous sense of security.

“Keep thy heart with all diligence” is more than a wise saying; it is a solemn charge laid upon us by the One who cares most about us!