The demon of selfishness – part.2

calvaryThe Law of Life !

  “Love, the basis of Creation and of Redemption, is the basis of true education. This is made plain in the law that God has given as the guide of life. The first and great commandment is, “Thou shalt love the LORD (Jehovah, Yehuwah) thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength.” Mark 12:30, 31. To love Him, the Infinite, the Omniscient One, with the whole strength and mind and heart, means the highest development of every power. It means that in the whole being –the body, the mind, as well as the soul —the image of God is to be restored !

If any man will come after (follow) Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me . . . !”   Luke 9:23 and I Corinthians 15:31

Like the first is the second commandment, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” The law of love calls for the devotion of body, mind, and soul to the service of God and our fellow men. And this service, while making us a blessing to others, brings the greatest Blessing to ourselves. Unselfishness underlies all true development. Through unselfish service we receive the highest culture of every faculty.

So after He had washed their feet, and had taken His garments, and was set down again, He said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you?  Ye call Me Master and Lord (Sovereign); and ye say well (you are correct); for so I Am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet . . . For I have given you and example, that ye should do as I have done to you . . . !

Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his Lord, neither he that is sent greater than He that sent him . . . Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto (served), but to minister (to serve others), and to give His Life (each and every day) as a ransom for many !” John 13:12-17 & Matthew 20:26-28

Lucifer in heaven desired to be first in power and authority; he wanted to be God, to have the rulership of heaven; and to this end he won many of the angels to his side. When with his rebel host he was cast out from the courts of God, the work of rebellion and self-seeking was continued on earth. Through the temptation to self-indulgence and ambition, Satan accomplished the fall of our first parents; and from that time to the present the gratification of human ambition and the indulgence of selfish hopes and desires have proved the ruin of mankind.

Under God, Adam was to stand at the head of the earthly family, to maintain the principles of the heavenly family (the law of God in unselfish service to others). This would have brought peace and happiness. But the law that none “liveth to himself” Satan was determined to oppose.

He desired to live for self. He sought to make himself a center of influence. It was this that had incited rebellion in heaven, and it was man’s acceptance of this principle that brought sin on earth. When Adam sinned, man broke away from the heaven-ordained center. A demon became the central power in the world. Where God’s throne should have been, Satan placed his throne. The world laid its homage, as a willing offering, at the feet of the enemy.

The transgression of God’s law (of self-sacrificial love) brought woe and death in its train. Through disob-edience man’s powers were perverted, and selfishness took the place of love. His nature became so weakened that it was impossible for him to resist the power of evil; and the tempter saw being fulfilled his purpose to thwart the Divine plan of man’s creation, and fill the earth with misery and desolation. Men had chosen a ruler who chained them to his car as captives.”     – Review & Herald, January 16, 1913

The coming of Christ to our world was a great event, not only to this world, but to all the worlds in the universe of God. He came to take upon Him our nature . . . He knows how to sympathize with us . . . His eyes shone with an expression of that love which led Him to leave the heavenly courts and come to earth to die . . .

In the sinner’s place . . . He pitied and loved not only those who sought to be obedient and loving, but those also who were wayward and perverse. Jesus has not changed; He is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and He still loves and pities the erring, seeking to draw them to Himself, that He may give them Divine aid.

He knows that a demon power is struggling in every soul, striving for the mastery; but Jesus came to break the power of Satan and to set the captives free !

  In Christ the character of the Father was revealed. As children looked upon His countenance, they saw purity and goodness shining forth from His eyes. In His countenance gentleness, meekness, love, and consc-ious power were combined. But though every Word, every gesture, every expression of His face, betokened His Divine supremacy, humility marked His deportment and bearing. He came but for one purpose, and that was the Salvation (deliverance, freedom, healing) of the lost.”    – My Life Today p.300-301

That man might be begotten again –

“If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature (creation): old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new !”      II Corinthians 5:17

     Through the power of Christ, men and women have broken the chains of sinful habit. They have renounced (to give up claim, title, position or right) selfishness. The profane have become reverent, the drunken sober, the profligate pure. Souls that have borne the likeness of Satan have become transformed into the image of God. This change is in itself the miracle of miracles. A change wrought by the Word, it is one of the deepest mysteries of the Word. We cannot understand it; we can only believe, as declared by the Scriptures, it is “Christ in you, the hope of glory” Colossians 1:27 . . .

For sin shall not have dominion over you, for ye are no longer under the law, but under Grace . . . For the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death . . . And whatsoever is not of faith is sin . . . and faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God . . . For the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us !”     Romans 6:14, 8:2, 14:23, 10:17 & John 1:14

Renouncing all that would hinder him from making progress in the upward way or that would turn the feet of another from the narrow path, the true believer (one who believes the Word) will reveal in his daily life mercy, kindness, humility, meekness, forbearance, and the love of Christ.

For the fruit of the Spirit is love (Charity – selflessness), peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with it’s affections and lusts (carnal desires) !”    Galatians 5:22-24

The power of a higher, purer, nobler life is our great need. The world has too much of our thought, and the kingdom of heaven too little. In his efforts to reach God’s ideal for him, the Christian is to despair of nothing. Moral and spiritual perfection, through the Grace and power of Christ, is Promised to all. Jesus is the Source of power, the Fountain of Life !

Let us make God’s Holy Word our study, bringing Its holy principles into our lives. Let us walk before God in meekness and humility, daily correcting our faults . . . Peace and rest will come to you as you bring your will into subjection to the will of Christ. Then the love of Christ will rule (reign) in the heart, bringing into captivity to the Saviour the secret springs of action. The hasty, easily roused temper will be soothed and subdued by the oil of Christ’s grace (G5485) . . . .

For the Word of God is quick (living) and full of power, and sharper than any twoedged Sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a Discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart . . . !”    Hebrews 6:12

In humble, grateful dependence he who has been given a new heart relies upon the help of Christ. He reveals in his life the fruit of righteousness. He once loved himself. Worldly pleasure was his delight. Now his idol is de-throned, and God reigns supreme. The sins he once loved he now hates. Firmly and resolutely he follows in the path of holiness.”         – God’s Amazing Grace p.107

“Christ knew, when He permitted Judas to connect with Him as one of the twelve, that Judas was possessed of (by) the demon of selfishness. He knew that this professed disciple would betray Him, and yet He did not separ-ate him from the other disciples, and send him away. He was preparing the minds of these men for His death and ascension, and He foresaw that should He dismiss Judas, Satan would use him to spread reports that would be difficult to meet and explain . . . Christ did not, therefore, send Judas from His presence, but kept him by His side, where He could counteract the influence that he might exert against His work.”          – Review & Herald, May 12, 1903 (5BC p.1102)

Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil ?”     John 6:70 & Job 1:6

Faithful Stewards ? “Then saith one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, which should betray Him, Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? But this he said, not because he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag (carried the money), and bare what was put therein . . .” John 12:4-6

Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed Me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed Thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse; for ye have robbed Me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove Me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open unto you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a Blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it !” Malachi 3:8-10.

We have just entered upon a new year, but little more than a month of it having passed into eternity. What has been the record of this beginning of the year? Have you been recounting the mercies you have received of God? and have you brought your offerings to Him of the abundance He has bestowed upon you? Have you even brought all the tithes into the storehouse, thus returning to the LORD that which is His Own?

The property that God has entrusted to the stewardship of man, is not to be hoarded. O that men and women would arouse to this fact, and venture something (take opportunity to increase) for the Truth’s sake. Trust in God should lead us to commit the keeping of

our temporal matters to Him; but too much time is spent in calcul-ating consequences.

And He called him and said unto him, How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest no longer be steward . . .”     Luke 16:2

Worldly gain, laying up treasure on earth, is the mania. But Christ said, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also . . . !”

Matthew 6:19-21 & Luke 12:34 The worldly treasure is a lodestone to hold the thoughts and control the judgment. There are great pecuniary advantages to be gained by investing means in various worldly enterprises; and the great majority of Christian professors press on in this path. They pursue their own ends as eagerly as if to gain the world would entitle them to Eternal Life. They selfishly waste the substance entrusted to them, expending money needlessly for the grati-fication of pride.

Worldly requirements, –eating, dressing, recreation, the embellishment of their houses,  –use up their means. And when their tithes and offerings are called for, and their energies are needed in work for their fellow-men, they withhold from God this proof of a love that He is every way worthy to receive; for the vital energies and the impulses of the soul have been exhausted in the struggle after worldly gain.

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also . . . !”     Luke 12:34

Selfishness contracts the heart; benevolence (kindness, charity, acts which seek no reward) expands it. Selfishness is a demon whose name is legion; in every age it has seemed that this demon would drive Christ and the spirit of self-sacrifice out of the world. Through it’s influence the church is weak when it ought to be a power. Who shall tell how many souls have been robbed of the gospel (Glad Tidings) of Christ by the apathy (selfish lack of interest) of Christians in withholding means and personal effort? The church has thus put out her own light, and has become the by-word of infidels.

Selfishness exists everywhere, in hearts where it is least suspected. It is this curse of selfishness, in the various phases in which it is manifested, that makes so many joyless Christians. God has entrusted to them means to be used in building up His kingdom; but they are not using His gifts to His glory. They are not working in har-mony with Christ; they are lovers of self more than lovers of God and His Word. This is why there is often con-tention in the church, until fault-finding, envy, jealousy, and strife for the supremacy become the native element. Inordinate self-love lies at the foundation of so much contention in the churches.

What has Jesus done to rescue a lost world from perdition? He did not send an angel to redeem the fallen world; but for our sakes He became a “man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” The love of Christ –how deep, how broad, how full ! He designed to save man by His Own infinite Sacrifice. The cross of Calvary was to be to men a convincing argument that His interest and theirs were identical. When He ascended to heaven, and the portals of the city were thrown open to Him with rejoicing, His plea to the Father was, “I will that they also whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I Am, that they may behold [share] My glory.”   John 17:24

Now those whom Christ calls His Own, whom He has sacrificed so much for, will not, cannot, enjoy anything selfishly. Their interest will be identified with that of their Redeemer. To every one of them will be given opport-uneities to show their love for His dear name by consecrating to Him themselves and the possessions He has loaned them on trust.

Jesus expects nothing less of them than that the claims of His kingdom, the boundless love He has manifested towards them, will awaken a response in their hearts, an interest that will overbalance every worldly considerat-ion. There must be no cessation (pause, interruption) of benevolent acts (acts of selfless kindness). New chann-els for their outflow will be opening around us in this day of preparation for the great event, the coming of Christ in the clouds of heaven. Link after link they form a golden chain of love, binding heart to heart, and all hearts to Christ’s great heart of infinite love.

When this love takes possession of the heart, the plans devised to spread the Light of Truth and extend the Redeemer’s kingdom will seem too small, the most costly offering too cheap. The icy spirit of selfishness will melt away, and in its place benevolence will well up like a Living Fountain to overflow and bless others !”

– Bible Echo, February 12, 1894

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