Selfishness is caring more for you than for others. It is putting ourselves first. When we are not selfish we will be able to love and obey more freely. In the Bible we read the story of Cain. (You can read the story in Genesis 4). God had asked Cain and Abel to make a sacrifice of a lamb. Abel took care of sheep and he had a lamb. But Cain was a farmer and wanted to use vegetables instead. He selfishly wanted to do it his way. The Bible says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5 NIV). Cain needed to trust in God instead of selfishly doing as he wished. When he made his sacrifice, God was not pleased. Abel’s offering was accepted by God while Cain’s was not. Cain became jealous and killed his brother. What a sad result of selfishness.
The Bible says, “Then the LORD said to Cain, ‘Where is your brother Abel?’ ‘I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?’” (Genesis 4:9 NIV)
It's in the Bible, “Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous” (1 John 3:12 NIV). Cain, the older brother, should have cared about his brother. He should have been his “brother’s keeper.”
Selfishness is thinking too highly of oneself. Cain felt that his way was the best way. It's in the Bible, “If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves” (Galatians 6:3 NIV). Today most people have an “it’s all about me” attitude.
How do I know if I’m selfish? The Bible says, “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?” (2 Corinthians 13:5 NIV) So, yes, we need to examine, or look at, our hearts and lives to see if we are following Jesus.
Is wanting to be first and best in everything a sign of selfishness? It's in the Bible, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all” (Mark 9:35 NIV).
How does an unselfish person act? It's in the Bible, “If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing right” (James 2:8 NIV). We should treat others like we want to be treated. The Bible also says, “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4 NJKV).
Whom did Jesus seek to please? “… for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me” (John 5:30 NIV). Jesus was seeking to please his Father in heaven.
Should I seek great and important things for me? The Bible says, “Should you then seek great things for yourself? Do not seek them” (Jeremiah 45:5 NIV) “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others” (Philippians 2:3-4 NIV) God wants us to show His love and care to everyone.
Aren’t I the most important person? “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you” (Romans 12:3 NIV). In another place the Bible says, “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves” (Romans 12:10 NIV). We are to think and treat others as more important than we are and to show them the love of God.
It’s not always easy to think of others first, but God will put His love in your heart if you ask Him to. God’s desire is that we love our neighbors treating them with unselfishness. It's in the Bible, “… but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD” (Leviticus 19:18 NIV).