The Selfless Series—#1: Looking at Myself

So, why this series?

When I was in Perth, Australia last year and about to teach a couple of lessons, I needed some ideas and asked Nadia (one of the young women there) what she thought would be interesting and appropriate.

“I want to learn how to be unselfish,” she replied, “we have just heard a series of lessons from Philippians 2 and it struck me how unselfish Jesus was—but I want to know what it actually means for me to be unselfish.”

{Before I go on, please take a moment to reflect upon how more people need to be like this beautiful young woman. We should all be asking the question: “How can I apply what I have just read/heard to my life? How can I let the Word change me?” This very good friend of mine is always asking great questions and I can see her grow from strength to strength as she applies what she hears. What an incredible attitude and a great example!}

With her request I began to think of how I could approach this topic, and I realized that the world around me does not value the virtue of selflessness very much at all. I mean, just trawl your Facebook wall for a while and take note of all the selfies, self-promotion and motivational quotes about how you just need to believe in yourself.

We are all about the power and promotion of self today, and I am not convinced that this is a turn for the better.

I also realized that often I don’t exhibit selflessness in my own life as much or as often as I should. I should have been asking the same question that Nadia had asked. I am one of those women who cares more about tasks than talking to people and meeting their needs, and often I become thoughtless and distracted in the pursuit of the completion of one task or another.

I wanted needed to learn how to be unselfish!

Through her question Nadia created a desire arising from the deep need within me to investigate the matter deeper, and as a result I completed a lesson compiling all the Biblical examples of radical, culture-defying selflessness that really stood out to me.

The Bible has incredible examples of self-sacrifice that go against the “rules” that the world will set for you in regards to when you should be willing to serve. I love debunking the world’s lies and replacing them with the truths of God’s Word. I am incredibly excited to share these truths I discovered with you as I write this series. This study shook up my faith and encouraged me to step outside of my comfort zone in regards to the way I looked at and treated others—and I pray it will do the same for you!

So where does the development of a selfless attitude start? Before we can have the right attitude towards others, we must have the right attitude towards ourselves.

The Selfless Series—#1: Looking at Myself

The average woman generally views herself as being completely incompetent, and at the same time extremely capable and entitled to everything.

How is this possible? This seeming paradox arises from the world’s efforts to simultaneously degrade and exalt women. On the one hand they are screaming, “Power to women! Women can do everything at once! Women’s opinions are worth far more than men!” while on the other they are saying, “You need to be able to juggle everything at once! You are only valuable if you are young, sexy and successful! You need to look like this!” …and all the while they use female anatomy and displays of overt sexuality to sell anything from rental cars to men’s deodorant.

Can you see why we have a problem with setting a proper value on ourselves? The world gives us freedom and power with one hand and then takes it away with the other while holding both actions under the seemingly attractive banners of “Women’s Rights,” “Sexual Freedom” and “Gender Equality.”

Since we obviously cannot determine our value from the world’s standards, how can we know what the right way to view ourselves is? How do we find the happy and healthy medium between feeling  like we are useless and unable to do right spiritually, and feeling like we are entitled to everything we want to have and do as women?

When we think of ourselves as too high we gain a false sense of security and pride, and can cause others to be less productive than they ought to be. When we have this attitude, we become discouraging, gossip-y and fussy. It’s the kind of attitude that says, “What do you know? I have been a Christian for longer than you have been alive!” and then does not take the time to study—because you know, you have read it all before and you know exactly what it says. It’s the kind that can’t let anyone else use their talents because it must be done their way. It’s the kind that talks all about what others are doing wrong and then never steps in to make it right. Whether you do it all because no one else can do it right or you sit back and criticize because you think you know better—this attitude is damaging to the cause of Christ.

On the flip side, when we think of ourselves as too low, we gain a false sense of humility and become less productive for the cause of Christ than we ought to be. Some may think that thinking of ourselves as worth less than others is a more desirable state of mind—but this couldn’t be further from the truth. This is false humility. When we have this attitude, we risk becoming as useless to the cause of Christ as we think we are, because we will become what we think we are. If I think “I can’t,” then I won’t, and if I use my “can’t” as an excuse to never do anything, then I will never gain the skills necessary to make my “can’t” a “can.” I will fulfill my own prophecy, and become much less useful and productive than I ought to be. My unique talent will never be placed in the pool of talents to be used to His glory, and everyone will suffer the loss.

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You need to see yourself as God sees you. You are not worthless, but neither are you superior. You are just as useful and needful as everybody else.

God sees every woman as important. Contrary to popular misunderstanding, the Bible does not debase women, but rather exalts them. God knew that man was not complete without woman—and made her the crown of creation (Genesis 2:18). Jesus chose a woman was chosen as the first to carry the gospel message (Mary Magdalene; cf. Mark 16:9, 10). Therefore, I am just as important and useful to God as a man can be (Galatians 3:28).

God not only knows I can be useful, but expects me to be. I have been given a unique set of talents and need to use them to the glory of God (Romans 12). I have been given a special role by God that no man fill, and I need to fill it (Titus 2:5).  You have a role to fill—find it and fill it. As Rodney the robot said, “See a need, fill a need!” (Sorry, I had to!)

God does not see me as any more useful or important than anybody else. Even people who seem worthless and useless can be useful to the cause of Christ—the disciples did not see the importance of the blind man, but Jesus did (cf. John 9:1-3). Those who think of themselves as better than others will find themselves fighting with God, just as the Pharisees were condemned for their love of pre-eminence (Matthew 23:11-12). We are told that if we think we are something special, we deceive ourselves (Galatians 6:3).

Yes, God loves you—but He loves everybody. I need to remember that I am not worth less or more than anyone else, and I am not entitled to anything more or less. I am a part of a greater whole, and I need to see and play my part while helping others to see and play their part.

Unselfishness is seeing myself as a tool of God to serve others, just as Jesus did (Hebrews 10:5-7).

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Next in the Selfless Series:

Looking at Myself

Looking at Others

Giving Out

Giving In

Giving Up

Related posts:

Can I Love Me?

It’s Not About Me: The Example Jesus Really Wanted Us to Follow

(Linked to Make a Difference MondayModest Monday; The Art of Homemaking Mondays; Jack of All Trades; Titus 2uesdays; What You Wish WednesdaysHomemaking Link Up; Essential Fridays; Counting My Blessings FridaySaturday Soiree)

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24 thoughts on “The Selfless Series—#1: Looking at Myself

  1. Really beautiful words Chantelle! The Lord’s view and expectation of women IS so different from the world, and sometimes I need to step back and remind myself of that. I love how you turn to scriptures for examples, and not the role models the world holds up.
    Visiting from Jack of all Trades

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  2. Very good message! We are all a part of the body and therefore each is important… No excuses, just humble service of love…Thanks for sharing on the Art of Home-Making Mondays.

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  3. I am right next to you at Holley’s this week! Your post on unselfishness is much needed, not just for others, but for me. Truly, being self focused and self centered is truly the default that the flesh always goes back to isn’t it?

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  4. Thank you for proclaiming such powerful, life-giving truths in this post. So glad I followed you at Blessing Counters link up! God bless you in the week ahead!

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    1. You are so welcome Julie! Though, I’m really only re-wording the truths found in God’s word, so I can’t take the credit at all for any wisdom of my own. I love finding out about God’s truths-less-discussed-and-most-needed and sharing them! Blessings to you!! ❤

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  5. Wow. That last sentence and verse resonated with me today. I am writing it on an index card to put in my pocket and look at throughout the day.

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