We live in an unabashedly self-centered period of world history. If there were a time past when selflessness and sacrifice was considered a virtue, it is truly gone. Just what do you say to someone who says to you, 'It is all about YOU!' What? Shall I just kill all virtue and employ all my resources in the service of... MYSELF? It is true that my 'self' is self-'ish' and truly only concerned with my-'self'. But should I marinade in the fact? Instead, Jesus demonstrated and said that 'self' is the part that must die in order to be any use at all to serving God and his people.
We read in Philippians 2:1-11 (WEB)
1) If therefore there is any exhortation in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any tender mercies and compassion, 2 make my joy full by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind; 3 doing nothing through rivalry or through conceit, but in humility, each counting others better than himself; 4 each of you not just looking to his own things, but each of you also to the things of others.
5 Have this in your mind, which was also in Christ Jesus, 6) who, existing in the form of God, didn't consider equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7) but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men. 8) And being found in human form, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, yes, the death of the cross. 9) Therefore God also highly exalted him, and gave to him the name which is above every name, 10) that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, those on earth, and those under the earth, 11) and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Jesus won the highest title by emptying himself, not feeding himself. Curiously he also said that if we want to be the greatest we must be willing to make ourselves the servant of all. The true path to greatness is upside down and inside out from all of our natural tendencies and desires. Instead, we need to sacrifice all aspiration of earthly title to eagerly serve God's purpose big or small, looking only for the Lord's commendation, 'Well done, my good and faithful servant.'
Perhaps we American Christians have been bombarded with 'me, me, me, me, you, you, you, you' so hard, so often, and so powerfully that our defenses have caved in and our sense of virtue is knocked unconscious in the boxing ring. Can the case against our depraved selfishness be any more clear and condemned by the fact that our generation publishes Self Magazine? We are a shame to ourselves. Of course Self Magazine simply has put the label on what the real problem is with our hearts. My insecurity vainly grasps for a self-preserver and insanely grabs the lead weight of self and my accomplishments hoping for buoyancy. However, lead weight sinks!
How can we fight against this? Anyone with publishing skills want to publish Others Magazine? But would it sell at the Walmart checkout? The heart of the matter is our heart and so we must start there with Jesus' command, "in humility, each counting others better than himself."