Summary: How to identify selfishness within and how to deal with it so as to honor Christ

Looking to the Interests of Others

Phil 2:1-11

1 If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion,

2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.

3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.

4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:

6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,

7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.

8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross!

9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,

10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

IF I WERE TO ASK YOU TO DEFINE SELFISHNESS, it would not be a difficult assignment. We all know what it is. We’re all too familiar with it. In fact, it may well be our number one problem–even after we have become a Christian.

Definition: acting or thinking of one’s own well being alone...taking care of number one. We will lie, pout, manipulate someone, distort the truth–anything to get our own way. Here are some examples:

● It’s my way or the highway

● Making a huge decision without consulting with my spouse

● Being in a social setting and dominating the conversation

I just finished reading a book by Paul Meier, entitled, Don’t Let the Jerks Get the Best of You, subtitled, “Advice for Dealing With Difficult People.” In it, the author says that selfish people are “jerks.” And he goes on to say that we are all jerks to some degree.

According to Meier, there are 3 kinds of “jerks” or 3 levels of selfishness.

1. First- Degree Jerks (40% of American Population)

❏ mild to moderate selfishness

❏ the good guys of jerkdom

❏ mean well–a bit selfish at times–usually unaware of it.

❏ Examples:

- tailgating

- don’t signal when driving

- driving too slow and irritating those behind

- don’t squeeze over when instructed to

- suffer from the “me first” syndrome

- feel very guilty when it is pointed out

2. Second-Degree Jerks (40%)

❏ always right

❏ have to win at everything (especially arguments)

❏ always blame others when things go wrong

❏ try to control, bully, and even at times, abuse others

❏ example: pass on shoulder of road; dart in and out of traffic

❏ constantly boast about their talents and accomplishments

❏ do feel guilty from time to time, but not enough to change

They are in church:

❏ have their own pew or row or room

❏ leaders who have to have their way

❏ even pastors who are master manipulators

❏ do feel guilty from time to time, but not enough to change

3. Nth-Degree Jerks (10%)

❏ sociopaths

❏ see if you can guess who this is:

- little baby boy whose father died before his birth

- mother left in poverty

- she married bother-in-law who was abusive

- little boy hated his step-father and didn’t think much of his mother either

- both parents used him to beg for money

- at age 10 he was made to quit school and work

- ran away from home and lived with an uncle who was also very abusive

- lived on the streets

- by his teens he managed to attend school and soon became the school bully

- as an adult he became addicted to power and gained prominence through intimidation, threats, and even the elimin-

ation of enemies.


❏ Thousands of years ago, Moses observed that the sins of the parents tend to be visited upon 3 or 4 generations.

❏ There are literally thousands of this kind of Nth Degree jerks around us today. You may know one. They range from drug dealer to “respectable” leaders in high political office. Some are even in the ministry!

❏ the difference between 2nd degree jerks and Nth degree jerks is one of degree. Nth degree jerks have no feelings of guilt whatsoever. That’s why we call them sociopaths. They could cut someone off in traffic, causing someone’s death and not even care.

❏ Another example of an Nth degree jerk is anyone who cheats on their spouse and gets found out and not feel any guilt whatsoever.

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