Fri April 5- Redeeming Our Selfish Ways

Romans 8:6-11 (CEB)

The attitude that comes from selfishness leads to death, but the attitude that comes from the Spirit leads to life and peace. So the attitude that comes from selfishness is hostile to God. It doesn’t submit to God’s Law, because it can’t. People who are self-centered aren’t able to please God.

But you aren’t self-centered. Instead you are in the Spirit, if in fact God’s Spirit lives in you. If anyone doesn’t have the Spirit of Christ, they don’t belong to him. 10 If Christ is in you, the Spirit is your life because of God’s righteousness, but the body is dead because of sin. 11 If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your human bodies also, through his Spirit that lives in you.


      Throughout the book of Romans, the Apostle Paul tries to rationalize the feelings of both Jews and Christians, who are at odds over such things as: which foods are acceptable, circumcision, and the practices and celebration of the sabbath. In general, it had to be difficult to decipher which end was up in the earliest days of the Way. But Paul then quiets the division by drawing both sides together with one reminder: We keep a mind like Christ. As we look beyond our own selfishness then, “the One who raised Christ from the dead will give you life.”

So we try not to be selfish in our pursuits. We do not hold our own wants and desires first. By longing to please God, we try to be God’s hands and feet. As Christians, we wish this were as easy to do as it is to say. Because there are times we instead just go our own way without checking in with God. We are human, of course, and most fallible and selfish. We know sometimes it’s hard *not* to be selfish in our own pursuits. How hard is it to just ignore whatever we secretly want for ourselves? It’s so much easier to just go our own way without listening to and for God. 

We can never be too sure of ourselves, so instead, we continually check in with God through prayer:  “God, Is this what You want/need me to do?” THEN, we pause and listen…. And then we pause and listen some more. In the thoughts and listening, perhaps we are humbled. Perhaps we hear a new way, This is what it means to attempt to have the mind of Christ. 

Fortunately it is God who rescues us, even as we just try to listen to the Spirit! When we focus on God’s Spirit, it is God who redeems us, especially when we just try but fail in our own selfish ways. When we follow God’s Spirit, as best we can, however we can, God will guide us.

by Barbara Carlson

for Pondering & Prayer

In what ways is it hard for you not to be selfish? How do you submit yourself to God when you sense God asking you to go a different way?

Prayer: Dear Redeeming God, You love is enough to put up with our selfishness. You love us and give us gentle guidance when we just try to live into your hopeful words. Thank you for your steadfastness. Thank you for all the ways you take our selfishness and turn it into something good, Thank you for your love. Amen.

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