Building Up Love - (Not) Self-Seeking

Self-Seeking: the seeking of one's own interest or selfish ends.1

…[love] is not self-seeking…   (1 Corinthians 13:5b, NIV)

“But I don’t want too,” the child whined.
“Its not about what you want,” the father replied. “Sometimes you do things you don’t want to in order to make others happy, especially those you love.”
“But I don’t want too,” the child whined.

When Paul wrote that love “is not self-seeking,” he was specifically writing to the church in Corinth. Corinth was a wealthy, sinful city, that scorned the idea of living a life in accordance with the teachings of Christ. Christians in Corinth were struggling to live Godly lives, often falling victim to the worldly thinking. A reading of the complete book of 1 Corinthians reveals that the members of the Corinthian church had a tendency to focus on themselves, instead of seeking God.

  

28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
29 “The most important one,”  answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
(Mark 28-31, NIV)

 

In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus goes on to explain that everyone is our neighbor and we are to show love to all that we meet. Sadly that is not how most of the world lives. Even many self-professed Christians fail to show love to their neighbors, just like the Corinthians. Many times, we can fail to realize that we are not showing love because of the normalization of being self-seeking, that is putting ourselves first, in today’s world.

Think of the television shows you sit down to watch in the evenings. Many times, conflicts arise because the characters in the shows do not stop and consider how their actions may affect others. Instead they place themselves first. It is easy to sit back and laugh at the antics in the show, but the shows become reality because what we watch affects our actions and changes the way we think. When we watch shows with self-seeking characters, we become self-seeking people.

 

Judas thought only of himself. Scriptures show that he was very concerned about money, meaning the simple lifestyle of following Jesus was difficult for him (John 12). His love of money allowed evil to take root in his heart (Luke 22) and he went to the religious leaders of the day, willing to betray Jesus in exchange for money (Matthew 26). Judas was self-seeking, thinking only of himself.

Jesus thought of others. In the hours before His death, Jesus withdrew to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray, 42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42, NIV) Jesus did not want to die. Jesus did not want to die! Jesus did not want to die!! Jesus knew what was about to happen and begged His Father “take this cup from me.”  He was begging His Father to find another way. Yet, Jesus was still willing to die because He wanted all to spend eternity with Him. “Not my will, but yours be done.”  Jesus put others before His own desires. He was not self-seeking.

Carefully examine your personal world. With what do you surround yourself? What television shows do you watch? What movies do you watch? What books do you read? What falsehoods are you subconsciously absorbing? Do you pursue a life of selflessness or a life of self-seeking pleasures?

1 https://www.dictionary.com/browse/self-seeking 

  

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