Why is Selfishness so Hard to Tame

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Ego – image from pixabay.com

Selfishness is in our very nature . . .

. . . and the only way we can see it for what it is, is with GOD’S help and the the GOD given intelligence that our brain offers.  Animals can only respond to their chemistry with little (if any) abstract influence from their perception of the external world. We humans are part of the animal world but, have more brain potential for abstract thought so we can gain understanding from knowledge that can enable us to function with more than the prime motive to survive.  We are chemically linked to the life on Earth that is why we must eat, drink, breathe and reproduce just as living things in general must do.  Yes our mind can allow us to rise above this natural state for “good”. We can conduct our lives and apply our abilities for the common “good” of all our planet’s lifeforms: Stewardship. To allow ourselves to be governed by selfishness is not good; unbridled selfishness is destructive at the smallest and the largest scale.

Proverbs 21:13 ESV

Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered.

Border Check – image from pixabay.com

Yes we have a strong desire to be protective

. . . because we want to have a “friendly” milieu for ourselves and our contemporaries as well as for our progeny.  When outsiders are perceived to represent a threat to our security we easily become defensive or even preemptively aggressive.

Stone Fortification – The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “Exterior of Damascus Gate from north, Jerusalem” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed July 20, 2017. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47d9-6418-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

The learning curve toward a more benevolent and socially cooperative behavior has been slow to achieve; it is a hard lesson to learn and apply. The progress toward this goal has been slow though Jesus laid out the “game plan” more than 2000 years ago. Are we such slow learners?  Some of us are I suppose but the real reason is found within our very nature.

Matthew 6:21 ESV

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Competition- image from pixabay.com

“But competition is good,” You may think.  Yes I say, but only to a point.

Doping = Cheating- image from pixabay.com

Extreme competition can do more harm than good: The original aim of “sportsmanship” was to be a metaphor for our lives as a whole: fairness, civility and the ability to win or lose with grace. Though it has helped it is yet far from perfect and cheating is more than disappointing it is discouraging

Proverbs 31:9 ESV

Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.

OK, awareness offers a forewarning

James 3:17 ESV

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.

 When will we really “get it” that cooperation

. . . benefits the majority, and agree to truly banish extreme selfishness along with criminal activities so life can then be better for more of Earth’s inhabitants. Still, it is in our nature to fall to temptation and fall into sin despite our best efforts ad this is where Jesus offers a way.  Jesus provides a way out of this conundrum (the duality of good and bad within us) here and now and, for eternity. When The Kingdom of GOD comes all this will change for the better and beyond that will come judgement, and then an  eternity with GOD for those who are believers in Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:10 ESV 

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.

Remember where you are, though it may seem so for awhile,  you do not control the world and its ways. Ultimately we all will answer to GOD.

Ecclesiastes 9:11 ESV

Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all.

Amen

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Does GOD Change?

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Through Time Things Change

We are in a state of constant change from the moment we are conceived; Nations are in a state of constant change from the moment they are formed; The Earth’s weather, climate and geology is dynamic; Astrophysicists recognize that the Universe is always changing. GOD is the one entity eternal and unchanging.

Psalm 90:2 ESV 

Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

(C) James Halifko

All things we know seem to have a beginning and an end; this is how we perceive life.

Life Cycle – image from pixabay.com

Yet GOD has an eternal perspective so how are we to understand all GOD’s ways?  We surely cannot but, we can trust in what GOD has revealed and  promised as explained in The Holy Bible. As for Jesus was He merely “a good man”? No: he is part of the mystery of the Holy Trinity and thus GOD incarnate.

John 1:1 ESV

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 10:30 ESV 

I and the Father are one.”

John 1:14 ESV 

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

So we witness lifeforms come and go: plants, insects, animals, people and Nations but . . .

Rome Past – image from pixabay.com

Hebrews 13:8 ESV 

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

 

images from pixabay.com

We can count on the promises of GOD

Jesus is central – image from pixabay.com

God has made numerous promises expressed in the Bible: some big as in covenants with nations; some small as I know all about you and have a plan for you.  Trust GOD; accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour.

 

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Love

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Love Tale – Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.

In the English Language the word “love” covers many emotions and actions.

Love Pizza – image from pixabay.com

In order to clarify what we mean we rely on modifiers but even that often does not accurately define which form of love it is we are referring to. I might say I Love You to my wife, my children and, I also may say I love pizza, dogs, and mountains .  We Christians speak of “Christian Love” or tell someone GOD Loves them but that sure seems to leave a great deal to their imagination.  Of course, one should use many passages within the Bible to help people understand the depth and scope of GOD’S Love. Perhaps begin with one verse and continue to offer more at the recipient’s request.

Psalm 136:26 ESV

Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever.

So this thing called “love” has a broad spectrum of meanings and some languages do better than others expressing it.

Examples of non-English terms of Love that express nuance with single words can be found in this article:

“23 Untranslatable Foreign Words That Describe Love Better Than You Ever Thought” by Koty Neelis

23 Untranslatable Foreign Words That Describe Love Better Than You Ever Thought

Love is Vital – image from pixabay.com

GOD has taught us about unconditional Love.

Romans 5:8 ESV 

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

God is Love – image from pixabay.com

GOD is about more than love let me not deceive you: GOD is Holy, GOD is Just, GOD requires worship and respect but, . . .  but for this post I have focused on one part of GOD’S nature: Love. In the Bible you can get the whole character of GOD; I encourage you to accept Jesus Christ and immediately gain the help from The Holy Spirit; seek out like minded believers; read the Holy Bible.

First century christians lived LOVE.

Love and 1st Christians – Art and Picture Collection, The New York Public Library. “Christen.” New York Public Library Digital Collections.

The First Century Christians chose to live their lives as closely to what Jesus had instructed as humanly possible. The Acts 4 scripture below explains in detail the way they lived. They were successful because we know about GOD today and thus can have a loving relationship with GOD: The Bible conveys GOD’S character in great detail: we can know GOD. People call this religion but GOD embraced us; GOD reached out to us and religion is the way humans attempt to get the attention of a god or gods.

Acts 4:32-37 (ESV)

They Had Everything in Common

32 Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. 33 And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.34 There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold 35 and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. 36 Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, 37 sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

Love is Good – image from pixabay.com
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July 4th Liberty Freedom and

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Happy July 4th

A mature Christian may have the freedom to enter into a gray area but not if it can lead a brother or a sister into sin.
Donuts – image from pixabay.com

Even overeating or a poor diet can be self destructive and you may lead your brother or sister into temptation just by indulging in a food harmless to you. Christians may be free to do some things not in themselves a sin or sinful but may be a problem for a fellow believer. (ST) Apostle Paul knew eating food offered to false gods was not a sin but some believers weren’t sure.

1 Corinthians 8:7 – 9 ESV

However, not all possess this knowledge. But some, through former association with idols, eat food as really offered to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.  . . .

Fireworks GIF – http://bestanimations.com/Holidays/Fireworks/Fireworks2.html

Freedom, Liberty, Civility and Law and Order.

What is meant by Freedom and Liberty? Do they refer to the same thing? Can they be used interchangeably? Are there limitations on Liberty, or is it something that is supposed to be completely without restriction? If, as the Declaration of Independence declares, all men are created equal with inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, does that mean government can do nothing to restrict Liberty? . . . ” http://eyler.freeservers.com/JeffPers/jefpco26.htm

Justice – image from pixabay.com

” . . . Law and justice are two words that often go hand-in-hand. These words are often confusing for many people who believe that these words are the same or refer to the same thing. However, this is not true. . . . ” http://www.differencebetween.info/difference-between-law-and-justice

Luke 14:1-6 ESV 

One Sabbath, when he went to dine at the house of a ruler of the Pharisees, they were watching him carefully. And behold, there was a man before him who had dropsy. And Jesus responded to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?” But they remained silent. Then he took him and healed him and sent him away. And he said to them, “Which of you, having a son or an ox that has fallen into a well on a Sabbath day, will not immediately pull him out?” …

What is Civility?

Civility – image from pixabay.com

“Civility is about more than just politeness, although politeness is a necessary first step. It is about disagreeing without disrespect, seeking common ground as a starting point for dialogue about differences, listening past one’s preconceptions, and teaching others to do the same. Civility is the hard work . . . ” http://www.instituteforcivility.org/who-we-are/what-is-civility/

Jesus boils it down to this:

Matthew 22:37-40 ESV 

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

Hands in Prayer – image from pixabay.com
Thank You Jesus for teaching us GOD’s truth; I pray we remember this always.  And that our United States though, free from an ‘official religion’ had reflected the best that humans can offer because the founders based their ideals on what they knew about right and wrong from the Holy Bible. May we as a people never forget or forsake this  but remain a beacon truth to the entire world. In Jesus’ name Amen. 
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