Day 3, The Love Dare: Love Is Not Selfish

Love is not selfish

 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; 
give preference to one another in honor. —Romans 12:10

Today’s dare involves trying to be unselfish, and I didn’t feel that I really had a good chance to be unselfish.  Selfishness is definitely something that I struggle with.  It has been an uphill battle for quite some time for me; as much as I love taking care of everyone and everything around me–especially my friends and family–I have some pretty distinctly selfish wants.  I’ve been trying really hard over the past few months to move away from my more selfish desires and replace them with the servant’s heart that I should have, and that I know I have buried in me somewhere.  It’s hard, but progress is being made.  After all I can’t be acting out of real love and selfishness at the same time.”

Part of being unselfish for me is to think more of the stresses and demands placed on others and trying to relieve these, instead of thinking of the stresses and demands that others are placing on me.
We live in a world that is enamored with “self.” The culture around us teaches us to focus on our appearance, feelings, and personal desires as the top priority. The goal, it seems, is to chase the highest level of happiness possible. The danger from this kind of thinking, however, becomes painfully apparent once inside any relationship.

If there were ever a word that basically means the opposite of love, it is selfishness. Unfortunately it is something that is ingrained into every person from birth. You can see it in the way young children act, and often in the way adults mistreat one another. Almost every sinful action ever committed can be traced back to a selfish motive. It is a trait we hate in other people but justify in ourselves.
Why do we have such low standards for ourselves but high expectations for others? The answer is a painful pill to swallow. We are all selfish.

When we put our interests, desires, and priorities in front of our loved ones, that’s a sign of selfishness. When a wife constantly complains about the time and energy she spends meeting the needs of her husband, that’s a sign of selfishness. But love “does not seek its own” (1 Corinthians 13:5). True love looks for ways to say “yes.” One ironic aspect of selfishness is that even generous actions can be selfish if the motive is to gain bragging rights or receive a reward. If you do even a good thing to deceitfully manipulate another person, you are still being selfish. The bottom line is that you either make decisions out of love for others or love for yourself.

Love also leads to inner joy. When you prioritize the well-being of others, there is a resulting fulfillment that cannot be duplicated by selfish actions. This is a benefit that God created and reserves for those who genuinely demonstrate love. The truth is, when you relinquish your rights for the sake of others, you get a chance to lose yourself to the greater purpose of Love.

Whether we like it or not, we have a reputation in the eyes of those around us, especially in the eyes of our loved ones. But is it a loving reputation? Remember, they also have the challenge of loving a selfish person. So determine to be the first to demonstrate real love to them, with your eyes wide open. And when all is said and done, you’ll be more fulfilled.

“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3).

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