“………the man who has doubts (misgivings, an uneasy conscience) about eating, and then eats [perhaps because of you], stands condemned [before God], because he is not true to his convictions and he does not act from faith. For whatever does not originate and proceed from faith is sin [whatever is done without a conviction of its approval by God is sinful].” Rom. 14:23 AMP
It is our nature to love only as far as we can ensure the good of self. If we are to love others as much as ourselves, we need someone greater than us to ensure our good so we can unselfishly promote and protect the good of others.
Selfishness comes to life when we assume God is unwilling or unable to cover the costs of loving others in the same way we want to be loved. This means our own good becomes the deciding factor when determining how far we will go in loving others.
In other words, distrust of God brings us to the conviction that we must depend on selfishness so we can have the happy, satisfying, and secure life we feel we deserve.
However small or innocently we begin, self-gratification compels us to use unnatural means to satisfy normal desires. This is true of the alcoholic, the drug addict, the sexually promiscuous, the homosexual, the rapist, the child molester, pornography, witchcraft, gluttony, the tyrant, the murderer, the physically or emotionally abusive, the gossip, the thief, the swindler, the jealous, the one who delights in getting even, the conceited, the chronic liar, and the one who causes or fuels dissension and strife. If we find ourselves satisfying normal desires, God-given desires through unnatural means it is because we have become self-centered in our pursuits.
There is a truth about selfishness that is too often ignored. The benefits of selfishness are temporary while the damage and suffering caused by selfishness lasts a long time — and sometimes it last forever.
Every selfish act contains at least one seed of destruction.
We cannot act selfishly without creating victims of our selfishness, without bringing unnecessary suffering into the lives of those affected by our selfishness. And sadly, the victims of our selfishness are most often those closest to us.
In the long run, the benefits of selfishness are always out-weighed by the destructive consequences. And truly, the most costly consequence is the damage done to relationships.
A selfish focus on our own needs and wants destroys the possibility of sharing in a mutually loving, satisfying relationship.
The selfish person who calls himself a Christian does a lot of damage to Christianity and the reputation of God. His hypocrisy makes God look bad in the eyes of unbelievers. His selfishness makes Christianity look bad in the eyes of those who endure unnecessary suffering as a consequence of his selfishness and unbelief.
The selfish person does even greater harm by living and presenting a type of religion that leads people to believe they can enjoy the benefits of God’s salvation without forfeiting the benefits of selfishness and sin.
He destroys the very essence of Christianity by promoting the importance of knowing God while evading the need to wholeheartedly live for God. He renders meaningless the language of Christianity by proclaiming to believe it in principle while contradicting it in practice. (Matthew 16:24-27; I John 4:7-8,20-21; Isaiah 58)
All the sinful states of our hearts are owing to unbelief in God’s super-abounding willingness to work for us in every situation of life so that everything turns out for our good. Anxiety, misplaced shame, indifference, regret, covetousness, envy, lust, bitterness, impatience, jealousy, despondency, pride—these are all sprouts from the root of unbelief in the gospel and in the promises of God that stem from it.
Abraham got the promise of God that he would have a son when he was a hundred years old and Sarah was old and barren. His response, Paul says, glorified God.
When you believe a promise of God, you honor God’s ability to do what He promised and His willingness and His wisdom to know how to do it.
“No distrust made Abraham waver concerning the promises of God, but he grew strong in his faith giving glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.” Romans 4:20