Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts. … a sad heart makes it hard to get through the day. …a miserable heart means a miserable life. MSG Proverbs 4:23, 5:13b, 5:15
Here is what we know based on scripture and our own experience with life; the condition of your heart determines how you live life.
On Christmas morning, you are probably at your best. Why? Because you are opening gifts. When you win the tournament, you are at your best. Why? You just beat everybody. It’s easy to be awesome. Why? The condition of your heart determines how you live your life.
You get cut from the team, you feel awful right? Why? You’ve been weighed and measured. Your heart has just been wounded. When you look on Instagram and all your friends are at a camp fire and you were never invited, you feel awful right? Why? Your heart has just been wounded. It’s hard to be gracious. Please hear me, your heart condition will determine how you live.
Last week we talked about the first way to wreck your heart. We said, take the heart test on the handout and ignore the results. Be completely aware that something isn’t right and do nothing about it. No changes. No thoughts about changing. No new priorities. Don’t get the Waking the Dead book or journal to get your heart back. Realize your heart isn’t healthy, go passive and push the problem into tomorrow. If you continue to live like this, you will, I promise, wreck your heart.
Today we want to talk about another way you can wreck your heart. Be selfish. Live like you are the center of the world upon which all the planets of our galaxy gravitate. Always be first in line. Always be the person that must have the most attention. Demand that everything must go your way. Think of yourself first and push your way to the front of the line. This is a sure way to wreck your heart.
Why? Being selfish means, I want to find happiness, so what I am going to do is, take first place from you. What many people don’t know is, long term real happiness is only found when you give first place to others.
That’s why Jesus said,
If you grasp and cling to life on your terms, you’ll lose it, but if you let that life go, you’ll get life on God’s terms. MSG Luke 17:33
Scripture says, if you do life on your terms and always think ‘me first’, you will lose it. To lose your life means living life without God’s presence. You will struggle and be frustrated because you will struggle to always be in control in your relationships. You will be frustrated because you have to always be in first place in all your relationships.
Being selfish feels good at first because you get what you want, first place. But overtime it will wreck your heart. It will steal your joy. You will want happiness but won’t be able to find it. You will live every day and be obsessed with getting your own advantage and over time you will lose relationships.
If you really want to wreck your heart, a great way to do it is to be selfish and stay selfish. Always think to yourself, I want happiness so I am going to take first place from you.
What a person plants, he will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others – ignoring God! – 8 harvests a crop of weeds. All he’ll have to show for his life is weeds! MSG Galatians 6:7-8
Think about this in your relationships in marriage, at school, in your family, at church, etc. When you plant selfishness in your relationships, when you are always taking first place from others, and you do it for 5 years, 10 years; scripture says, you will harvest weeds. In other translations it actually says you will harvest death and decay. Being selfish, always taking from others, destroys relationships.
Scripture also teaches us how to bring life to our relationships. Before I read it, I want to share with you two important things. When you read the word ‘selfish’ think to yourself, ‘I demand first place and I will take it from you.’ When you hear the word ‘humble’ think to yourself, ‘humility isn’t thinking less of myself, it means I have the courage and strength to put others in first place.’
3 Don’t do anything from selfish ambition or from a cheap desire to boast [stop taking first place from others], but be humble toward one another, always considering others better than yourselves [have the courage and strength to put others in first place]. 4 And look out for one another’s interests, not just for your own. 5 The attitude you should have is the one that Christ Jesus had:
6 He always had the nature of God, but he did not think that by force he should try to remain equal with God. 7 Instead of this, of his own free will he gave up all he had, and took the nature of a servant. He became like a human being and appeared in human likeness. 8 He was humble and walked the path of obedience all the way to death – his death on the cross.
9 For this reason God raised him to the highest place above and gave him the name that is greater than any other name. GNT Philippians 2:3-9
How did Jesus live? He was in first place, He’s God. He gave up first place to serve us.
I want quickly share a couple of differences between being selfish, taking first place from others, and being humble, having the courage and strength to put others in first place. It’s a quick way to see if you are more selfish or humble. Think about your marriage, your parenting, your school relationships or work.
If I am selfish, I am insecure and everything must go my way. If I am humble, I am secure in God and everything doesn’t have to go my way, I can role with it.
If I am selfish, I compare myself to others. And, I always conclude, I am worse than others and I feel jealous. Or, I feel like I am better than others and I feel pride. If I am humble, I can celebrate what God is doing in your life.
If I am selfish, I use people for my benefit. If I am humble, I can serve others for their benefit.
If I am selfish, I am terrified of failure so I live in fear. If I am humble, I realize failure means I tried something and I can learn from it.
If I am selfish, I think about my success, bigger, better, more and the next opportunity for me to have more influence. If I am humble I am focused, right now, on how I can make others around me better.
If you want to wreck your heart, be selfish and stay selfish. Always take first place from everyone around you. Want to heal your heart? Live like Jesus did. He gave up first place to give it to you.
Here are my last comments. This lesson is simple but it hard, very hard to live out. Being humble does not necessarily mean your life will work out the way you it to. It doesn’t mean you will go back to school, put others in first place and you will find a best friend. It doesn’t mean you will go back into your marriage, put your spouse in first place and the marriage will be awesome. I never said living like Jesus did is easy or fun. Here’s the deal. Living like this means your heart will be pure. Your heart will be healthy. You will be a lamb in a culture filled with wolves. It’s what Jesus did. Oh, and He changed the world. I never said this is easy. I said, this is how you live with a pure heart.