… those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them …
— 2 Corinthians 5:15
Selfishness is the universal form of human depravity; it lies at the base of all of our sins. Every sin that can be named is only a modification of it. What is avarice, but selfishness decorating and indulging itself—a man sacrificing to himself as his own god? What is sloth, but that same god asleep, and refusing to attend to the calls of duty? And what is idolatry, but that god enshrined—man worshipping the reflection of his own image?
Sensuality—indeed, all the sins of the flesh—is only selfishness setting itself above law and gratifying itself at the expense of all restraint. And all the sins of the spirit, are only the same principle impatient of contradiction, and refusing to acknowledge superiority, or to bend to any will but its own. What is egotism, but selfishness speaking? Or crime, but selfishness without its mask, in earnest and in action? Or offensive war, but selfishness confederated, armed and bent on aggrandizing itself by violence and blood?
Indeed selfishness is the universal form of all sin. Jesus Christ said, “Beware of covetousness.” It is covetousness and unbelief combined that keep people from obeying many of God’s commands to their own hurt. But God rewards obedience to His Word.
We are called to live for Christ and not ourselves. It is by focusing on Jesus that we can overcome selfishness.