Jul 30 8:05 AM
Joy Killer #3: Selfishness
Jul 30 8:05 AM
Jul 30 8:05 AM
Friday, July 30, 2021
Over the last few life lifters I've talked about joy, and this week in particular, I've talked about joy killers, things you need to be aware of that can kill your joy faster than a pin can pop a balloon. Today, I want to talk to you about a third joy killer: selfishness. If you want to kill your joy, just think about yourself, just do what's good for you. Only think about yourself, only act for yourself, never do anything for anybody else, just do for yourself. If you want to kill your joy, be a selfish person. You want real joy? Be selfless. See, life is a choice. You can either be selfish or selfless.
The Apostle Paul talks about being selfless in his letter of joy, Philippians, which we have been using for these devotionals on joy. I get this idea from Philippians 2:19-21, where Paul talks about Timothy and his relationship with Timothy. Timothy was his young brother in Christ. Paul built so much into Timothy, and talks about Timothy in this passage and in other places of Scripture. He talks to Timothy in the epistles to Timothy, called First and Second Timothy. This was when Timothy was the pastor of the church at Ephesus. Paul just loved Timothy, and look at the joy he gets from Timothy when he describes him in verses 19 to 21. He says this to the Philippians, "I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive good news about you. I have no one else like him, who takes a genuine interest in your welfare. For everyone else looks out for their own interest, not those of Jesus Christ."
That's why Paul loved him. Paul found so much joy in Timothy because he built into other people, so he wanted to send him. If you read later, he talks about another faithful servant named Epaphroditus, which was the same thing. Paul had so much joy because he saw Epaphroditus as someone he helped build into to help the Philippians. Here's the point: Paul was not selfish, he was selfless. Because he was selfless, he built in to others such as Timothy and Epaphroditus. Because of that, Timothy and Epaphroditus were going to build into the Philippians. This was a chain of selflessness. And what did it do? Paul said it brought him cheer. What's that? Joy. Paul had joy. Timothy had joy. Epaphroditus nearly died, and he was still willing to do the work. Why? Because he found joy in it.
Here's what I want to say: Sometimes, you and me can lose joy because we're too selfish. We have to be selfless. Life is not about us, it's about God and other people. In fact, I've said this before, the acrostic "JOY" is when you put Jesus first Others second. Yourself third. You say,"wow, Vince, if I put myself last I'm going to be terrible." I have found that when you put Jesus first, others second, and yourself third, you'll find more joy when you're in that third arrangement than if you said YOJ. It's not really a word, but it's yourself, then others, then Jesus, which would be the exact opposite. Do you want to find joy? Stop thinking about yourself - that's what we call narcissism - and be selfless. Sure, if you need a little help? I'm glad to do it. Need a little money, glad to give it. Need a little love, glad to provide it. Need to talk, glad to listen. But if you want to find joy, stop being selfish. I know people, friends, family who are so selfish. All they ever do is make decisions for themselves, and you know what? They're not joyful. Not even close.
Mother Teresa was filled with joy. She gave her life away. You don't have to be Mother Teresa, but you do have to learn to give your life away. Jesus said "if you lose your life, you'll find it" (Matthew 10:39). And when you find it, you'll have outrageous joy. So avoid that joy killer selfishness. How? By being selfless. Father, help us to be less selfish, more selfless, like Paul, like Timothy, like Epaphroditus. Most importantly, like Jesus Christ, who gave his life for us. Help us to trust that when we're selfless you'll fill us with so much joy we won't know any other way to live. Thank you for this in Jesus' name, amen.