Article by: Sarah Koontz, Founder of Living by Design Ministries
I will never forget the hopefulness I felt when I cradled my first child in my arms, I couldn’t help but think that this tiny babe might nurse all that selfishness right out of my body.
I have always been prone to selfishness. The biggest slice of pie, the most perfectly cooked egg, the most comfy chair in the house…yes please!
Although becoming a mother forced me to lay aside a majority of my external selfishness, on the inside…I am still as selfish as ever.
What makes selfishness one of the most difficult evils to overcome is the same thing that makes the microwave my least favorite household appliance.
The problem with our microwave is that I focus my day-to-day cleaning on the outside of it.
If you were to walk into my kitchen at this very moment, it would appear that all is well with my microwave.
But, dear God, don’t open up that microwave and try to use it!
Because, I simply despise cleaning the inside of our microwave.
I put it off until I can’t stand it another moment, until it is so crusted with food splatter that it loses its ability to function properly.
And, inevitably, as soon as it is clean…someone in my family heats up a bowl of chili without a cover and we are back where we started!
Dealing with selfishness is no different.
I have learned how to operate my life in such a way as to not appear selfish to the outside world.
But, when you open the door and take a look at my heart, you will find selfishness splattered all over it.
Even my best attempts at cleaning won’t keep it away for long.
Because no matter what I am doing, I can’t escape the voice in my head asking, “What’s in it for me?”
I hate being selfish, but to this point…I’ve not figured a way to escape it.I hate being selfish, but to this point, I’ve not figured a way to escape it.
But what if I have been approaching this problem from the wrong angle all of these years?
Let’s take a moment to look at selfishness from an entirely different perspective…
We all know that the only way to have a perfectly clean microwave is to NEVER USE IT!
Am I right?
But what good is it to have a microwave if you aren’t going to use it?
When we open up that microwave and see food splatter all over it, we are seeing evidence of its usefulness.
Maybe, with a little creativity, we can figure a way to make that selfishness splattered all over our heart useful as well.
Wouldn’t that be a wonderful change?
I am tired of believing the lie that so long as I don’t let the ugly parts of me show, I’m succeeding at being a good Christian.
I am coming to realize that God wants me to stop wasting so much of my energy cleaning up the outside and start dealing with the ugly splatter that remains on my heart.
Rather than simply being content with the appearance of cleanliness, I desperately need that splatter to humble me and draw me into the presence of my Savior.
This new way of thinking has stirred up hope within my soul.
Although my heart is prone to selfishness, my mind is determined to use that selfishness to as a signal that I need to re-focus my attention on Christ.I will choose to use my selfishness as a signal to re-focus my mind on Jesus.
The selfish splatter’s usefulness lies in its ability to point me back to Jesus!
Our tendency as Christians is to do whatever we can to appear Christ-like on the outside; maybe it’s time for us to realize that we have entirely missed the point!
When I became a mother, I thought that my children would somehow free me from my selfish tendencies.
But, I now realize that the only person who can give real freedom is Christ.
Because Christ has the power to transform our lives from the inside out!Jesus Christ has the power to transform our lives from the inside out!
So what does this mean for you and I?
First of all, it means that there is hope for those of us who struggle with selfishness.
Selfishness is a signal that our focus is on the wrong thing, nothing more nothing less.
Secondly, we are freed up to redirect that selfish energy into something positive.
Because, Christ empowers us to transform our selfishness into humility.Jesus Christ is the only one who can transform our selfishness into humility.
And finally, there is always victory when we find the strength to bring what is hidden into the light.
I have often made the mistake of comparing the inside of my ugly microwave with the outside of everyone else’s.
This has left me feeling less than, dirty and hopeless.
But, maybe I’m not the only one hiding behind a sparkly clean exterior.
And, if your microwave looks anything like mine, maybe set aside some time this week to give it a good scrub too!