Fighting Selfishness (Luke 22:24)
By: Betsy St. Amant Haddox
A dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. - Luke 22:24
Selfishness lurks in the corner of every man and woman’s heart. We’re born with a sin nature, and nothing reveals this depraved situation quite as much as our inherent selfishness. Even after regeneration—after confession, repentance and salvation through the blood and power of Christ—selfishness is a constant battle we fight in our flesh.
The disciples were no different. In the verses leading up to Luke 22:24, the disciples were seated with Christ for the Passover Supper. This was a very intimate, important evening—Jesus was about to be crucified. This was their last opportunity to spend time with Him and learn from Him, but what do they do? They start bickering over who of them was the best.
We can roll our eyes, but we know that the same tendency lurks in us. We crave recognition. We desire to be the best. We want to be held in higher regard than the person next to us.
Selfishness starts young, and never goes away. Think about this: When you were a child, you either played with this kid or were this kid—you know, the one who insisted on only playing the game they wanted to play. When you were a teenager, you wanted to eat at the restaurants you wanted to eat at or only see the movie you wanted to see. Even today, I fight extreme irritation when one of my children or my husband interrupts me when I’m writing or trying to complete a task. Thoughts like “don’t they know how important my schedule is” raid my mind. Sometimes, I must remember that my first duty is not to my paycheck or my hobbies, but to my family. Why? Because I’m selfish.
And so are you. Yikes!
The good news is, we have the power to overcome sin through the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:11 (ESV) If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
We are capable through the Spirit living in us to defeat selfishness! We won’t get it right every time, but our hearts should desire to beat this sin of selfishness that hurts our relationships and interrupts our fellowship with the Father. The next time the urge to be selfish pops its ugly head up, take a breath. Recognize it for it is—sin—and pray. Ask the Holy Spirit to sanctify your heart. The shift might not happen overnight, but as time goes by, you should start noticing change in this area.
It’s easy to indulge our flesh, to live out the desire to be first and to insist on being so. But Jesus said otherwise. Luke 22:25-26 (ESV) And he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves.
In this upside-down kingdom, the first will be last, and the last will be first. Jesus says that whoever humbles himself with be exalted (Luke 14:11) As Christians, we should be focused on serving others, rather than clamoring for the best seat in the house. Trust the Lord to exalt you in due time as you strive to exalt Him always.
Betsy St. Amant Haddox is the author of more than fifteen inspirational romance novels and novellas. She resides in north Louisiana with her hero of a hubby, two total-opposite young daughters, a vast collection of coffee mugs, and an impressive stash of Pickle chips. Betsy has a B.A. in Communications and a deep-rooted passion for seeing women restored in Christ. When she’s not sweating it out at Camp Gladiator or trying to prove unicorns are real, Betsy can usually be found somewhere in the vicinity of a white-chocolate mocha—no whip. Look for her latest novel with Revell, titled The Key To Love, coming October 2020. Visit her at http://www.betsystamant.com.
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