Why am I so selfish? This is a question I have been asking myself more and more of late. Most people would probably describe me as generous. I am charitable and offer to help people in need whenever I can. But still, inside my heart and mind, I am very selfish.
According to the Oxford English, the definition of selfish is;
– – lacking consideration for other people; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure. – –
Concerned with one’s own pleasure …. that sounds very familiar.
When it comes to feeding the lusts of the flesh, I have far too often put everyone and everything in second place. Despite my better judgment, the love for my family, my responsibilities and most importantly my relationship with the Lord, I make giving into temptation my priority.
While the enormity of the strain that sin puts on our relationship with the Lord is paramount, my focus here is in examining the strain on the marriage relationship.
The Bible stresses over and over that marriage is to be honored. That when we choose to enter into the marriage relationship, we need to put ourselves aside. Selflessness not selfishness is the hallmark of a strong and healthy marriage.
From the very beginning God emphasizes how we must put our former lives behind us when we unite ourselves to another in marriage.
Genesis 2:24: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”
In fact, this point is so crucial that Jesus repeats it in the New Testament.
Mark 10:9: “Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
The Apostle Paul takes it even further when he describes how husbands are supposed to treat their wives.
Ephesians 5:25, 28-29: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, …… In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, …”
Do we as husbands give ourselves up for our wives?
Do I put aside the desire to feed my fleshly impulses and choose to honor and serve my wife?
Jesus never did anything to serve Himself. His focus was on giving His time, His love and ultimately His life for His bride, the church. As a follower of Jesus, I should be studying His Word and striving to grow into His image. There is no question that to do that I must put aside the lust of the flesh and cherish and satisfy my wife.
Paul gives another example of the way we are to love our wives in his first letter to the Corinthian church.
1 Corinthians 13:4-5: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking …”
Are we honoring our wives when we give into the flesh, or are we, as Paul says above, “dishonoring” her and “self-seeking”.
If we want our marriages to be blessed by the Lord, we must die to ourselves and honor and cherish our wives. As an added benefit, according to 1 Peter 3, by honoring our wives it can bless our prayer life.