Wednesday, November 3, 2021
1 Corinthians 10:23-24
Today, I want to talk to you about this idea of what it means to be self-seeking, that oftentimes we find ourselves in a position where we're seeking how to satisfy ourselves. Now, here's the thing, it's not like we grew up knowing how to be selfless. In fact, we are hardwired to be selfish. We only think about ourselves, we only think about what's happening to us. That's how we come into this world. Hopefully, over time, if our parents are some influential characters in our lives, they had really taught us how to share, how to be polite, how to do all of those different things. But it doesn't come naturally, even after we learn it.
The apostle Paul writes this profound phrase in First Corinthians 10:23-24, "I have the right to do anything - but not everything is beneficial. I have the right to do anything - but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others." Here's what's fascinating with how Paul writes this: First he says, "I have the right to do anything." Now the word "right" here means lawful. It's permissible, it's okay for you to do it. But just because you can, doesn't mean you should. I know that's a hard concept for a lot of us to understand, just because you can doesn't mean you should. He says, "I can do all things," meaning it's okay. But then he says, "but not everything is beneficial." What does he mean by beneficial? He means it's not for the common good. It's not going to benefit those around you. It's not going to create a better environment. Then he repeats himself, "But I have the right to do anything." Again, it may be permissible, but just because you can doesn't mean you should, because then he follows it up with this, "but not everything is constructive." What does he mean by being constructive? It literally means to build something up. Just because you can doesn't mean you should, because it's not going to strengthen someone else. It's not going to create a better environment around you. It's not going to build others up. The word that we use in the church for that is edification. It's not edifying. It doesn't build you up.
You see, we are naturally selfish. That's why I think he closes it with this, "No one should seek their own good, but the good of others." Remember, you are naturally selfish. That's how we come into this world. It's a process throughout our entire lives to figure out how to be selfless, and to put someone else's needs before our own. So I want you to change the question you internally ask yourself. Especially when you're in a situation and you're working with somebody, maybe that person's annoying you or something. I want you to change the question that you ask. Ask, "what does this person need? How can I help them?" versus, "What do I want?" It's this idea of not being self-seeking. Father, I want to lift up everyone who's reading this. Thank you for them. Father, we just ask that you would help us have the strength to not be self-seeking, so that everything we do is to build someone else up to help the common good. Father, we thank you for the grace that you have given us and I pray that we would be able to extend that to one another. For whoever's watching and is struggling through that right now, I pray that you give them courage, give them strength, give them peace, so that they can love someone else and ask that question, "what does this person need?" versus, "what do I want?" Thank you. In Jesus' name, amen.