A Cure For Self-Centeredness
Self-centeredness is a problem in our society today. Most people that I know are not totally self-centered but many Christians that I have observed are still more self-centered than God-centered. God's word has much to say about this, of which I will only be able to touch on a few in this article.
A self-centered person isn't concerned about with the needs of others: they are selfish, self-seeking, self-concerned, wrapped up in oneself, self-important.
In Phil. 2:3-4, the Amplified Bible says: "Do nothing from factional motives (through contentiousness, strife, selfishness, or for unworthy ends) or prompted by conceit and empty arrogance. Instead, in the true spirit of humility (lowliness of mind) let each regard the others as better than and superior to himself (thinking more highly of one another than you do of yourselves). V.4 Let each of you esteem and look upon and be concerned for not (merely) his own interests, but also each for the interests of others."
Self-centeredness is not something most people set out to be in life, we get that way by not teaching and feeding our "born-again spirit" how to grow up and be centered in Christ and not self. Imagine what a place this world would be if every human being alive adopted and practiced Phil. 2:3-4! Conflict would disappear, strife would be banished, enmity, and jealousy would cease to exist. Think how the workplace environment would be altered. Backstabbing and gossiping would become things of the past. Office politics would cease. The need for litigation and lawsuits would all but vanish. We know that this will never be in this fallen world of corrupt and sinful humanity who live for themselves, but this is indeed the norm for those of us who inhabit the kingdom of God in Christ.
When the apostle Paul wrote this, he struck directly at the root of the sinful nature in all mankind: self-centeredness. When we are born-again, our nature in our spirit is changed to our Father's nature and that nature desires to produce the "fruit of the spirit" as found in Gal.5:22-23. The outer man, our flesh, does not get saved and still wants to be self-centered and live for itself. Consider for a moment the person eaten up with jealousy. What is dominating their thought processes? Themselves!! They are looking at the abundance of another and then pining away because their focus is squarely on themselves and their own interests. If they truly regarded the other person as more important than themselves, they would be rejoicing at their prosperity, rather than fretting at their own perceived shortfall. Or consider the case of the one who has an angry temper and is not a bit hesitant to let it be known. Do you think they are looking out for the interests of others? Of course not!! Once again, their focus is squarely on themselves. They could care less what their cruel words do to the other person who is on the receiving end of them. All they are thinking of is themselves and the perceived injustice done to them. How many men and women have thoughtlessly and selfishly damaged their mate's spirit by their cutting remarks? Imagine the difference that would take place in the household if both spouses would think of each other's feelings before they open their mouths to do battle.
The list could go on and on. Bitterness (look what they did to ME); un-forgiveness (you have no idea how wronged I have been); greed (I must have more, I don't care who I have to hurt or what I have to do to get it); gossip (who cares what damage I do to them); slander (I hope I hurt them, they deserve it). These are sins against others and all of them have their root in the self-centeredness of the carnal nature.
The real answer is found in Phil. 2:5-8 "Let this mind (to think, to have a mindset) be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, V.6 who being in the form of God did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, V.7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men, V.8 and being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross."
If we will get the same mindset as Jesus had and let ourselves be conformed into His image by prayer, reading and studying God's Word then we will slowly get away from being self-centered. Also, in Eph.5:1-2 He gives us more information in how to walk in humility, it says, "Therefore, be imitators of God as dear children. V.2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling aroma." We need to learn to view all that we do and say in the light of how it affects others.
We need to learn to put other's first and there is no better place to start than in our own homes and among our own families. This is one of the ways in which we follow our Lord's commands to "deny ourselves, take up our cross daily and follow him." You might be tempted to say, "This is not easy." You are absolutely correct. It is not "natural" for fallen humanity to think this way. Only those who have been "born-again" by the Holy Spirit possess the desire and the ability to do this. I trust this information will help you in your personal walk with God. God bless you richly.