Changing the Definition of Selfish

This week I am running the Bible station at our church’s Bible Camp (aka Vacation Bible School) so it’s a great time for a guest post from. Today’s post comes from a young man I met in a group led by Jon Acuff. Nick Spindler is a fellow blogger who also desires to challenge and encourage his readers. Be sure to check out his website as well when you’re done reading.

Changing the Definition of Selfish

If you ask almost  anyone, they would say we live in a pretty selfish society.  People are  often thinking about what is in their best interest and how they can get it.  The goal of reaching the “American Dream” pretty much sets us up to be selfish.  We think that being selfish is when our thoughts, words and actions all point towards us.  This definition makes sense.  Then,  in Christian circles we hear all the time about how we need to be selfless.  We hear about how to put other people’s needs before our  own.  This also makes sense.  The Bible says in John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his  friends.” Giving up your life is the ultimate act of selflessness.

A  few weeks ago, I heard a speaker challenge this definition of selfish.   When our thoughts, words and actions point to ourselves are we really getting what is best for us?  Proverbs 14:12 tells us, “There is a way  that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.”  So, if everything is pointed towards us we are just heading towards death.  I don’t know about you,  but that doesn’t seem like the best for me.  The speaker said to be truly selfish our thoughts, words, and actions need to point to Jesus.

Don’t let me lose you here, stick with me.  Being selfish is when we want what is best for us (Tweet That.  Jesus tells us in John 10:10, “The thief comes  only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and  have it abundantly.”  So, if we really want what  is best we have to turn to Jesus.  With this perspective, maybe being selfish isn’t that bad after all.

So, if we are selfish and set our thoughts, words and actions on Jesus, we  in turn will also be selfless.  By being truly selfish we are being  selfless.  It’s a glorious paradigm shift.  If you really want what is  best for you, you have to be selfish.  Just make sure you are using the correct definition.

In what ways do we need to be more selfish? In what ways should we be less?

About Nick: Nick lives in Raleigh, NC and loves all things NC State.  He is constantly pushing himself to be better, and his blog,, will hopefully challenge you to think about who you are.  You can also find him on twitter at @nspindler.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • David Mike

    I believe that the opposite of love is selfishness. It seems as if all things that we find distasteful in our behavior stem from selfishness. If we truly loved, our own personal feelings would come last. “So, if we are selfish and set our thoughts, words and actions on Jesus, we in turn will also be selfless. By being truly selfish we are being selfless.” Exactly!

    • nspindler

      I agree. I think too many times we focus on how to not be selfish when we really should just focus on how can I love someone.

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