Is It Okay to be Selfish?

What Does The Bible Say About Selfishness And Self-Love?

Dan Franklin
Oct 3, 2021    42m
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In today's society, we hear a lot about the importance of self-love. But what does the Bible say about selfishness and self-love? Growth in godliness is marked by a shrinking self-love and an increasing love for others. Video recorded at Upland, California.

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Dan Franklin: [00:00:19] So there is a time when the statement up here on the screen, the whole idea of self-love was a controversial idea. It was debated. People were on both sides and weren't so sure whether or not self-love was a good idea. That's not the case today. We have pretty well decided on this question, and the side that we've landed on as a culture is that self-love is good and that self-love is deeply important. You find this out if you listen to any celebrity talk for more than like 20 seconds. You can't get through an acceptance speech or an interview with some kind of actor or actress without at some point them bringing up the importance of self-love. And if you go on Spotify and just search for songs on self-love, you have all kinds of entries. I'll give you some of them. Love Myself by Hailee Steinfeld. Love Yourself by Justin Bieber. I Love Me by Demi Lovato. And my favorite, I Love You, But I Love Me More by Marina. And this doesn't even count the songs that don't have it overtly in the title. But if you look at what they're saying, they're all talking about self-love.

Dan Franklin: [00:01:32] But here's the deal. Some of you might be thinking, all right, but that's celebrity culture and not to be mean, but celebrities are weird. So all right, so maybe in celebrity culture, this is really, really common and this has taken over. But I don't know if that's a good sampling to say in our entire culture that this has become a stronghold. And fair enough, so I thought I'd look. What are the experts saying about this? I went on the website for Psychology Today and searched for articles about self-love, and I found one by a guy named John Amadeo. And I was getting ready to read it, thinking, all right, he is going to go through sort of the debate, the debate about whether or not self-love is good or healthy. The first sentence of his article says this. We know it's important to love ourselves. The debate is not about whether or not we should love ourselves. The debate is only about how exactly is the best way to do this. And the well-known researcher Brené Brown agrees with this also. She says, owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we'll ever do.

Dan Franklin: [00:02:39] Go on to Amazon later and search for books about loving yourself, and you'll find entry after entry after entry. And over the dozens, I found only one that was the least bit of a challenge to the self-love culture that we have. In the United States of America in 2021, the idea that we need to love ourselves is settled science. If you went up to somebody today and said, well, what do you think about this whole debate about this whole controversy over self-love, it would be like going up to somebody and saying, which side are you on on the question of whether or not water is wet. It wouldn't make any sense. They'd say, what do you mean about the debate about self-love? What debate is there? We have decided what we think about self-love. It's a stronghold in our culture. And as we've been talking about strongholds, what I mean by stronghold is that it's a cultural belief that is so strongly embedded, so strongly believed that we don't question it and to question it feels like we're trying to create an earthquake in our culture. It seems like we're trying to remove a foundation. The idea of loving yourself is a stronghold in our culture.

Dan Franklin: [00:03:52] And the question is, what does God's Word have to say about this? Now, eventually, we're going to be in the passage that Amelia read for us in Philippians 2, but I'm going to give a little bit more of an extended intro just to survey and say, what does Scripture say about this before we look at that Philippians passage? So we're going to go to three passages right now that speak pretty directly about the question of self-love. And the first one is 2 Timothy 3 verses 1 and 2. And the Apostle Paul writes, but mark this. There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves. Lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy. And if you had your Bible up and you would see the list goes on and on in the following verses. Paul is talking about the markers of an increasingly godless society, and the one he starts with is they love themselves. It's hardly an endorsement of the self-love culture. But let's look at something else, the Apostle Paul said in Ephesians 5. And this comes in the context, Paul is talking to husbands and wives about how to treat each other. Husbands love your wives. Wives submit to and respect your husbands. And in the middle of talking to husbands, he says this starting in Ephesians 5 verse 28.

Dan Franklin: [00:05:14] In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body just as Christ does the church for we are members of His body. Paul says, husband and wife, you're one flesh. So husbands, when I'm telling you to love your wife, you're kind of loving yourself. You're loving somebody that close to you, you're loving somebody and you're benefiting yourself. And then Paul has the audacity to say no one ever hated their own body. Nobody ever hated themselves. We all love ourselves. We all care for ourselves. Now, right now, as you're looking at what Paul said, some of you are wanting to call foul. Some of you are like, no, that's not true. It's not true. I know people who hate themselves, and I know people who hate certain things about themselves. And you might even be thinking, there are certain things. I can't stand about myself. I can't stand the way I look or I can't stand the way I sound or I'm frustrated with my personality that I'm too shy and reserved. Sometimes I'm deeply frustrated with myself.

Dan Franklin: [00:06:27] I don't think it's fair to say that everybody loves themselves and nobody hates themselves. And here's what we need to realize. And this might not be an easy truth to swallow. When we are frustrated and even disgusted with ourselves in different ways, it only is another proof of our absolute obsession with ourselves. Last day of the baseball season, some of you are Angel fans. I'm praying for you. If you're an Angel fan, this past decade has been very frustrating because you've lived an entire decade with the best player in the world playing on your team, playing out of his mind, and that has equated to a total in three, in 10 years, of three playoff games, all of which they've lost. It's got to be frustrating. I feel for you if you're an Angel fan, there are probably times where you're saying, I am so frustrated with the Angels. I can't stand them. I can't stand the ownership. I'm so mad at the starting pitchers. I'm so mad that nobody's giving Mike Trout any help. You're so frustrated with the Angels. Quick question. Is that because you hate the Angels? No, that's because you love the Angels. If it was the Texas Rangers, you'd be like, who cares? But it's the team that you love, and so you're obsessively frustrated with them. You are probably not obsessively frustrated with the way that somebody you don't care about looks.

Dan Franklin: [00:07:54] But you love yourself so you are obsessively frustrated with how you look. The reason why we eat too much is because we love ourselves, and the reason why we exercise and eat well is because we love ourselves. Paul just puts it as a settled issue. We love ourselves. And by the way, Jesus is with him on this because the third passage is Matthew 22 verses 37 through 39. Jesus is responding to the question, what is the greatest command? And He starts off by saying, love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it. Love your neighbor as yourself. Now, the reason to bring up this passage is because there are people and maybe they're a little bit more on sort of the self-help way of handling the Bible who will say, Jesus said it right there. He said, to love yourself right there. Clear as day, Jesus says, love God, love your neighbor, love yourself. We're supposed to love ourselves. Jesus says it right there.

Dan Franklin: [00:08:56] Is that what Jesus says right there? Well, first of all, we know that that's not what Jesus said for a couple of reasons. First of all, love God, love your neighbor, love yourself. How many commands is that? That's three. How many commands does Jesus say He's giving? Says He's giving two. He says, love the Lord your God and love your neighbor. Those are the two commands. There's no command to love yourself. What He's talking about when He says as yourself, is He's saying the same thing Paul is. Jesus is saying, you love yourself a whole lot. Love your neighbor in that same way that you already love yourself. When we look at Scripture, we certainly don't have the idea that loving ourselves is something that we're supposed to do or supposed to cultivate. We're told at a basic level it's something we already have. You have self-love. You have it in spades. You have plenty of it. And you're not commanded to try to cultivate more. And by the way, the fact that you have a level of self-love is totally appropriate. You should be important to you. You're important to God. So it's appropriate. If you weren't important to you, you wouldn't get yourself food. You wouldn't get yourself shelter. You wouldn't make sure you had clothes to wear or food to eat or all those kinds of things. There's a level where it's totally appropriate that each of us have that level of self-love. But what we don't find anywhere in the Bible is a command to cultivate more self-love.

Dan Franklin: [00:10:25] All throughout the New Testament, dozens of commands to love, not a single one about loving yourself. It's always love the Lord your God or love your neighbor. If we're looking to the Bible to try to justify the idea that we're supposed to cultivate self-love, we're coming up empty. Now, for some of you, this might feel like a big blow. And the reason is because there's a problem that this solves for us or at least offers to solve. And the problem, and I don't care if you're a kid, if you're a junior at high, if you're my age, if you're older, however old you are, the problem that all of us to one degree or another deal with is we all feel like we need to be important, but we're not sure we are. We need to have value. We need to know that we matter in the world and we're not sure that we do because we've been kicked around by insults and put-downs and failures and self-doubt. We say I need to know that I'm important, and this kind of solves the problem. This solves the problem because I decide that I'm important. I create my own value. I determine that I matter in this world because I love myself.

Dan Franklin: [00:11:41] And what we need to realize is that this is an empty response to a totally valid problem. We all do need to know that we matter. We all do need to know that we have value. But Scripture does not point us towards this as the solution. What we get instead is something much more profound and much more real. What we end up realizing is that we don't find value through creating self-love, but we find our value through receiving God's love. We've already previewed it. We've looked at it. Let's turn now to Philippians 2 verses 1 through 4. It's a pretty simple passage. Here's how it's going to break down, four verses. Paul is going to tell us something that's true. Then he's going to tell us something that we're supposed to do. Then he's going to talk to us about how we do it. So he starts in verse 1 with telling us something that's true. And here's the way that this breaks down. Verses 1 and 2 break down into a giant if then statement. Paul basically says, if this is true, then do this. And the if is broken down into four parts. There are four things that he says if this is true and all of them are true. So let's look at them together in verse one. He says, therefore, if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ. You have any encouragement from being united with Christ? Is there encouragement in Christ? Encouragement for your heart in the idea that the eternal Son of God left behind paradise and comfort to come live in a broken world and suffer for you? The idea that the Son of God would rather suffer on a cross than have you pay for your sins? Paul starts us off and he says, is there any encouragement in Christ?

Dan Franklin: [00:13:40] And we get to say yes. When I think about that, my heart is encouraged. I am valuable to God because He sent His Son for me. That's just the first if. He goes on. He says, if any comfort from His love? Is there not only encouragement with knowing that Jesus sacrificed for us, but knowing that we have comfort from the love, not only that He showed us in the past when we say, well, we know He loved us because He died for us while we were sinners. But the fact that if you're a believer in Jesus, you are still walking constantly in His love in your day-to-day life today. He is at the right hand of the Father making sure that every one of your prayers is heard. He is with you always even to the very end of the age. He is inviting you to bring your burdens to Him, and He's going to carry them for you. Is there any encouragement in Christ? Yeah. Is there any comfort in His love? We start to feel like, wow, we must really matter to God. Number three, he says, if any common sharing in the Spirit. And the literal Greek here is just if there's any fellowship with theSspirit, with the Holy Spirit. Paul is not only talking about the fact that as believers, we all share in the Holy Spirit, we all have the Holy Spirit dwelling inside of us and so that brings us unity. But he's also talking about the idea that if you are a believer in Jesus, you are indwelt by the third person of the Trinity, by God Himself, who empowers you and emboldens you and opens up your eyes to what Scripture is saying, teaches you and reminds you, comforts you, and helps you to know that you're a child of God. Paul saying, look at the benefits that we have from God through Jesus. We matter to God.

Dan Franklin: [00:15:35] And he closes this off with the fourth if statement where he's starting to turn the corner. He says, if any tenderness and compassion. And I say that he's starting to turn the corner because as a spoiler, verse 2, what he's going to say is, if all this is true, then you all should be one. You all should act in oneness. And he's getting ready for that by saying if in response to all of these amazing things that God has done for you, you find yourself having tenderness and compassion, affection for your brothers and sisters in Christ, that would only be appropriate. Paul is winding up to some big commands. Verses 2, 3, and 4, which are the parts of this passage that most of us know better than this first part, verses 2, 3, and 4 have some big commands in them about us totally setting aside selfishness and living selfless lives. But Paul does not begin with that. He doesn't just say, set aside selfishness and be selfless and serve others. He says, I want you first to know what's true. I want you to know the benefits that you've received from God through Jesus so that you can stand and live in the reality of how much you matter to God.

Dan Franklin: [00:16:47] And once you know how much you matter to God, it suddenly becomes a lot less important to make sure that you protect your own space. And you're a lot more capable of loving others. Paul starts with this, and to be honest, I don't want to just move on from it, I want to have us actually spend some more time in this idea where we just dwell in the grace of God and how much He values us, even though we don't deserve it. So we're going to do something right now that that's different than what we normally do. I'll explain to you what it's going to be. It's going to invite participation, which will make some of you uncomfortable. But two weeks ago, we talked about how God doesn't always want us comfortable. So we solved that, and we're all on the other side of that question now. Here's what I'm going to do. The things I say are going to be up on the screen as I read them, but over the next few minutes, I'm going to read six statements that are each accompanied by a Scripture. Six statements about who we are in Christ so that we can revel in the reality of the value that God has given to us. I'll read the statement, I'll read the passage, and after I'm done reading that, I'm going to invite some of you to stand just where you are. Not to say anything, not to come forward, but just to stand in response to this. And then when I move onto the next one, you can sit back down.

Dan Franklin: [00:18:14] And here's the reason why you would stand. We all walked in this morning with baggage and burdens and things on our minds. What I'm about to read, all of them are things that we should celebrate, but maybe one of the six things that I'm about to read for you, you're just like, I need that today. Today, Satan's attacking me and making me doubt, and I'm guilty over things I've done, and I just need to embrace that today. And you might think, well, I can embrace it without standing. Well, fine, you can. But here's why I want to encourage you to stand if you find yourself saying I really need that today. First of all, it's a way for you physicalizing in your body the idea that you say, yes, I believe that, I'm receiving that. And secondly, there's probably other people in here who are feeling the same way you are and thinking they're all alone. And when they see you stand, they're going to know I'm not all alone. God is with them. God is with me. So again, I'll make the statement, I'll read the passage. After the passage, I'll invite you to stand just for a moment, and then we'll move onto the next one.

Dan Franklin: [00:19:24] The first one that we're going to look at is the reality that we are adopted. Romans 8 verses 15 through 16, the Spirit you receive does not make you slaves so that you live in fear again, rather the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by Him, we cry Abba Father. The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. If you need to embrace this morning and receive that you are a child of God, just go ahead and stand right now. Thank you. Second statement we'll read, we are forgiven. Colossians 2 verses 13 and 14, He forgave all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us. He has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. So if this morning you just need to embrace and receive that you are forgiven by God, just go ahead and stand now. Thank you. Third statement we'll look at, it's a simple one, we are loved. 1 John 3:1, see what great love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called children of God, and that is what we are. If this morning you just need to receive that the God of the universe loves you, go ahead and stand. Thank you. Thank God for His love.

Dan Franklin: [00:21:25] We are uniquely gifted by God. Ephesians 2, verse 10. For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us. If this morning you just need to receive that one of the reasons why you matter is because God has made you uniquely with unique gifts, just go ahead and stand now. Praise God. Thank you. A fifth one. I love this one. We are welcomed. Hebrews 4, verse 16. Let us then approach God's Throne of Grace with confidence so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. If this morning you just need to know and receive that God welcomes you into His presence for any reason whatsoever, go ahead and stand. Thank you. Finally, last statement, we are known by God. Luke 12 verses 6 and 7. Words from our Lord Jesus are not five sparrows sold for two pennies. Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid. You are worth more than sparrows. If you just need to know and receive that the God of all creation knows you inside and out, go ahead and stand now. Thank you. Let me just pray before we continue on with the passage. Father, thank you that you have given us these blessings. We haven't earned them. We haven't made ourselves in a position to be welcomed or loved or adopted or gifted or any of these things. Thank you for the grace that you've poured out. Thank you that we matter, not because we've declared it about ourselves, but because you and your grace have given it to us as a gift to receive. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Dan Franklin: [00:23:44] All right. Well, that was just verse 1. It's a big if then statement. If this is true, then do this. And we get to the then, we start getting to the other side. In verse 2, we move from what's true to what to do. Verse 2, Paul says, then if all these benefits in Christ are true, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. He says, like a proud dad looking at his children and saying, I love you all as individuals and I love to see how you grow and I love to see how God has made you. I love to see all that. But as a proud dad, the thing I also would really love to see is I'd love to see all of these children love one another and be one. And he says basically, be one four different ways. He starts and ends with of one mind, being like-minded, thinking the same thing, which doesn't just mean that we all believe in Jesus, although that's the foundation. But it means that we're setting aside strongly held sometimes opinions and preferences to accommodate others. Says having the same love and being one in spirit or being harmonious. That the whole thrust of this is that he's saying, if God has so taken care of you, then respond to that by sacrificing your preferences and desires so that oneness can happen amongst God's people.

Dan Franklin: [00:25:12] This may result in you not always getting the exact songs that you want to sing sung from up here. This may result in the fact that we don't do communion the exact way that you kind of wish we did communion or we don't do student ministry or children's ministry in the precise way that you wish we did that because we're all adjusting to one another. And you might be saying, but aren't they supposed to adjust to me? Yes, but you are supposed to adjust to them. You are not supposed to make them adjust to you. We adjust to one another so that we can have oneness, which is a high calling. I don't want to be overly doom and gloom, but one of the things that the world needs to see from believers, not just who are part of the same church but believers across the country, is that we are willing to set aside the things that don't matter as much so that we can show love and oneness to one another. And it would have been great if during this COVID crisis, we would have done better at this. Again, I don't want to be doom and gloom, I don't want to act like there haven't been beautiful and profound things that we've seen God bring through these trials and people step forward and serve and love others because we absolutely have. But at the end of the day, do we feel like our country looks at Christians and says they really have it figured out for how to get along with one another when they disagree? I don't think we can claim that. I don't think that we can claim that that's part of the fruit of this time because we've basically picked our teams and thrown stones at those who have been on the other side of us. This is close to God's heart, and this is a fruit of us knowing that we matter this profoundly to God.

Dan Franklin: [00:26:56] And it does take sacrifice. It does take us pulling back from things that we might feel are right or important. But it's for the sake of showing love and oneness to one another. And Paul goes on from here, and he gets even more specific. He says, let's talk about how this oneness is done, and verses 3 and 4 are probably the best-known part of this passage. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. All right. Similar idea. Selfish ambition is basically the idea of I'm going to do whatever it takes to get me ahead and to get my agenda completed. Then conceit is sort of like reveling in the high position that you're in and getting glory from the status of your high position. The thing that can tie both of these together is the simple word selfishness. Do nothing out of selfishness says the Apostle Paul. Do nothing out of selfishness. But you know what we say? We say, well, you've got to be selfish sometimes. You got to. You can't just do what everybody else wants you to do all the time. Sometimes you've got to be selfish. You need self-care. Sometimes you've got to get some rest. You've got to get some sleep. You've got to go out with some friends. Sometimes you just need to be selfish, right? Sometimes you just need to be selfish. No, you don't. You do not sometimes need to be selfish. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.

Dan Franklin: [00:28:18] I looked it up in the Greek. You know what the word nothing means? It means nothing. Do nothing. But sometimes you've got to be selfish. No, you don't. You are not smarter than God. God says, do nothing out of selfish ambition and vain conceit. And we say, well, that's nice. But we kind of know some things now. No, we don't. We don't know more than God knows. We know that God is speaking the truth, and He doesn't say do most things out of this but sometimes you've got to be selfish. He says, Non you don't ever got to be selfish. Do nothing out of selfish intentions. Now, some of you are getting really nervous right now, and you're asking in your heads a valid question and probably that valid question is something like this. What about boundaries? You know, we have all these boundaries books and we talk about the concept of the idea that you can't just live your life constantly adjusting to everybody around you. You've got to have times where you say no. You've got to have times where you draw a line and you say, sorry, I'm not going to be treated that way or no, I'm going to say no to that request, even though that's what you want me to do. What about boundaries? So a couple of comments. The first is this. The boundaries books are not the Bible. So if you're looking at that and you're saying, no, no, no, Paul says this, but the boundary book says this, you know who wins? The Bible wins. So first of all, there's that. But secondly, what the boundaries books on a whole bring up is an important biblical concept. It's something that we see the Lord Jesus doing.

Dan Franklin: [00:29:49] Many passages talk about this. One of them is Luke 5:16 where it says, but Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. Jesus often retreated from the demands of everyone else, went away, refreshed His spirit before the Father, and got rest and refreshment and fellowship with the Father. And you know what usually happened when He came back? People were mad at Him. He came back and they were like, where have you been? We got stuff to do. We got places to go. Where have you been? And how much did Jesus care that they were mad at Him? Big goose egg. He did not care that they were mad at Him. You know why? It wasn't because Jesus was saying, Sometimessyou just got to be selfish. It was because Jesus absolutely knew what the Father was calling Him to do, and He dedicated his life to it. And He said, I'm sorry, I know you got demands on me. I'm doing what the Father calls me to do, and I'm refusing any other burden other than that. Your calling is not to sometimes be selfish. Your calling is to embrace what Jesus has called you to do and be willing to let all other things fall to the side. Probably my favorite thing that Jesus ever said, if you're allowed to have favorites, I guess I do, Matthew 11 verses 28 through 30 when Jesus says, come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. That sound good to anybody right about now? Oh man, come to Jesus, you're weighed down, you're tired, you're frustrated, you're weary, and He's going to give you rest, especially if the thing making you tired and frustrated and weary is the constant demands from other people that you don't ever feel like you could keep up with. Jesus says, come to me if you're tired and weary and I'll give you rest. But then listen to what he says in the next verse. He says, take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I'm gentle and humble and heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Dan Franklin: [00:31:51] Jesus says, I've got a light burden and an easy yoke, but He still says, come and put on this yoke, which is the image of a strong animal having a burden put on them that they have to pull and they're dragging something behind them. Jesus basically says, come to me and do all this stuff that I tell you to do. Come to me and do all this stuff that I tell you to do, and that will give you rest for your souls, first of all, because Jesus is going to be with you because the commands are for your good. But you know what it also does? It also frees you from having to figure out if you need to meet all the demands of other people. If you're married, part of your yoke is your wife or your husband. If you have kids, part of your yoke is your kids. This is clear in Scripture. If you're a student, that's part of what God has you doing right now. If you have work, that's part of what God is calling you to do right now. If you're serving in a ministry here, that's somehow connected to what God is calling you to do right now. What we want to do is this. We want to be so in tune with what Jesus has called us to do that if somebody else says, I really need you to do this and that's going to take us away from being able to do what Jesus has called us to do, we have the freedom to say, I'm sorry, I can't do that for you or I'm sorry, I need rest or I'm going to be no good for my kids, no good for my work, no good for the ministry that God has called me to. That's not you being selfish. That's not even talking about self-care. That is you being absolutely devoted to the calling that Jesus has given you and letting all the expectations from other people fall to the ground.

Dan Franklin: [00:33:27] Some of you right now are like, that would be nice. That sounds like rest, and Jesus says that's exactly what it is. I'll give you rest for your souls. Do nothing from selfish ambition or vain conceit. Be dedicated to what Jesus has called you to do and let all other burdens fall to the side instead of doing things out of selfishness. Paul says rather in humility, value others above yourselves. Humility shows up a lot in the Bible, but in the 1st century, humility was not a virtue, and you might say in the 21st century, it's not a virtue again. It's not necessarily something that people are going to prize in other people or say that you need to cultivate. But Paul says in humility, acting like you're low, value other people above yourself. Treat them as if they're more important than you. Quick question. Are other people more important than you? No. The answer's no. Other people are not more important than you. Other people are equally important to you. We are all gifted with being made in the image of God. Other people are not important to you. But Paul says, act like they are because God's taking care of you. You're fine. You're adopted. You're forgiven. You're indwelt by the Holy Spirit. You're taken care of. So act like other people are more important than you. And frankly, you're already going to be taking care of yourself. You have plenty of self-love. Look at other people and that word look is where he goes in verse four.

Dan Franklin: [00:34:57] Not looking to your own interest, but each of you to the interests of others. And again, even in this verse, it's implied you're already looking to your own interests. You're always making sure that you have food. You're already making sure that you're taken care of. You're already making sure that you're praying about the burdens that you have. Look to the interests of others. And the word look here, it's very active. Paul is not saying if somebody comes to you with a need, be willing to help them although that's great. Be willing to help somebody if they come to you for a need. Paul is saying, you're getting out your binoculars and you're looking and you're trying to figure out what other people need. And not even just what they want, but what will draw them closer to God. What will be of eternal value to them? What will show them how much they matter to God? That you are on the lookout for these things. One of the things that for those of us that are husbands that's sort of like, it should be a lesson we learn along the way, I don't know if it's husbanding 101, but it's an important one, is that if your wife asks you to do something and you do it, that's good. Sort of like, that's the first up. Hey, could you help me out? Could you do the dishes or could you bring the laundry in? Or could you make sure you go out and pick up this package? If your wife asks you to do something, you do it, that's good. You know what's better? What's better is if you do it and she didn't have to ask you to do it. That's better. That's winning as a husband.

Dan Franklin: [00:36:25] It's like the ultimate moment because it's showing that you care enough about her that she's on your mind and you're thinking about her and saying she would probably really appreciate if I did this. And when that involves things around the house that you're doing and practical things, that's really wonderful. You know, what's even better? Is when not just as husbands and wives, but as brothers and sisters, as people that are in each other's lives, we're so in tune with what's going on that we're not only doing practical things to help, but we are praying in light of what's going on in other people's lives and what they need. That we can go to them and say, you know, I was thinking about what you said the other day, and I just wanted you to know that I've been praying for you. And when you look at somebody in your life group or Bible study or family and you know that they're down and you know that they're sad and you know that they're burdened and you go to them with a word from Scripture and make sure that they know how valuable that they are to God. Be on the lookout. Be looking all around for what people need from the Lord and be an agent of getting it to them. You're already taking care of yourself. If we are doing this, we are showing the love of God to the world because the vision of God is not that we as a church would be a group of individuals who are all looking to just improve ourselves and look inward. God's vision for our church is that we would be a group of members of one family looking first to Him and then looking outward to how we can serve others. Brothers and sisters, we don't need more self-love. We've got self-love. Some of that self-love is appropriate, it's supposed to be there.

Dan Franklin: [00:38:02] Your calling is not to cultivate more self-love. Your calling is to cultivate greater love for God and greater love for others. And you can't do that unless you've started with the bedrock foundation of knowing how profoundly you matter to God. In fact, that may be like the first point of application for all of us in this. I read these six statements earlier. We sort of soaked that in for a while. Maybe your first point of application is you're like, I need to just write down those six statements or I need to just pick that one that I'm constantly battling because I'm not sure it's true because Satan accuses me and because I feel I just need to live in that. Maybe every morning I need to take a walk and just meditate on that reality so that I don't drift away from it. The more you are in the truth of God's Word, the more you can stand in the reality of who you are in Christ. Two days ago, we just started a new Bible reading plan, and you can't get any better than where we started because we're starting with Jesus. We're in the gospel of Luke. If you are reading the Bible, you are constantly coming up against who God is and what that means about who you are in Him. We need to soak in who we are in Christ so that we'll have the foundation to do anything that Paul is calling us to do. And the second thing that we have to do is we have to be in tune enough with Jesus that we know what He's called us to do so that we can let every other burden fall to the side.

Dan Franklin: [00:39:34] That we can be convinced that Jesus is calling us to behave in certain ways with our families, with our church, with our community, with our workplace. That we can be in tune with Him enough to say, all right, God, here's your calling for me. And so if these demands over here are going to keep me from your calling for me, I'm going to politely decline. And if people are upset with me about it, I'm going to just stand in the reality that people were upset with Jesus for doing this. I live to please God, not to please others and not to please myself. And if there's a third application for this, it goes right back to verse 4. We are called to be on the lookout. You know, maybe there's not even a huge number. Maybe don't start with 10 or 20. Maybe there's five people in your life right now that you're like, I need to be on the lookout and just start with these five in my family, in my life group, in my Bible study. They're my tight group of friends. Maybe I need to just start with these five. Be praying for them. Be thinking about them. Put on those binoculars and be on the lookout for how God is calling me to show His profound love towards others. The kind of love that's going to bring the world to Jesus is not a cultivated, narcissistic self-love. It's a love that flows out from people who are so secure in Christ that we have nothing left to prove about ourselves and we're able to give like Jesus gave. Let me pray for us.

Dan Franklin: [00:41:01] Father, thank you so much for the love that you've given us. We don't deserve it. We didn't earn it. But we receive it. We receive it as a gift from you. We celebrate it in humility. Father, keep us from being lied to by the enemy and believing those lies so that we're living in the filth of self-doubt and of failure. Help us to live fully in who you have created us to be and made us through Jesus. Father, show your love through us so profoundly that we're marked not by selfish grabbing, but by selfless giving. And Father, I pray in particular for those who stood earlier, that the things that they were saying, I need this, I need to receive this, that you would with your kindness and the power of your Spirit, seal those things on their hearts so that they will know in their bones who they are in Christ. We pray in His name. Amen.

Recorded in Upland, California.
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Life Bible Fellowship Church
2426 N Euclid Ave
Upland, California 91786
(909) 981-4848