The "I" Problem
Did you know pride and selfishness are the roots of every other sin? Pride is the sin that got Satan kicked out of heaven. Every conflict that we go through has an element of pride mixed into it.
What is the middle letter of the word “pride” in English? I. What’s the middle letter of the word “crime”? I. What’s the middle letter of the word “sin”? I. We have an “I” problem! I, I, I. “I want what I want and I want it now and that causes all kinds of problems.” Never let pride be my guide.
This is counter culture. Because today, in our society in modern culture, we reward narcissism. The most arrogant athletes, the most arrogant celebrities, the most self-centered entertainers are the ones we pay the most money to and pay the most attention to. The people with the biggest egos get the biggest money. And they get the most press.
Philippians 2:3a “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others.”
You realize how hard it is to keep that verse? Don’t be selfish?
Selfish: is saying, it’s all about me. So when we have this attitude, “it’s all about me” – we have conflict. Selfishness it’s all about my needs. It’s all about my wants. It’s all about my fears. It’s all about my success. It’s all about my career. We know people who’ve walked out of marriages because the marriage was standing in the way of their career. And they’re not really caring about the relationship. They’re caring about themselves. The Bible says that it’s selfishness that causes all kinds of problems.
James 3:16 “For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.”
When you find disorder at your workplace, disorder in the office, you can know that selfish ambition and jealousy are causing it. When you find disorder and confusion in your home you can know that selfishness is causing that. It causes disorder and confusion everywhere. It causes it in marriages, it causes it in politics, it causes it in church, it causes it in homeowner’s associations.
In Galatians, another book Paul wrote, Paul lists about seventeen effects of living with pride. He calls it the works of the flesh. He says when we live the self-centered, the self-indulgent life, it shows up in all kinds of ways. And he starts off by saying things like self-indulgence shows up in sexual immorality and wild partying and getting drunk. You would expect those things. But most of the things on the list are actually the sins that we have to deal with – relational sins.
Galatians 5:19-21 “When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, [In other words, my natural desire to think of me and not about you. To think “I’m number one” and not worry about what you think.] the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these.
Know anybody like that? That’s because they’ve let their pride be their guide. Paul says if you’re going to have happiness, you’ve got to have harmony. And if you’re going to have harmony, you’ve got to have humility.
Want more peace and harmony in your life? Let go of your pride, and become more and more selfless, everyday. It goes against culture, and it even goes against your human nature. We call this "dying to self." But, when you "die to self," the Bible promises you will find life... your relationships will find life, you're emotions will be full of life and joy, and you'll experience true peace.
You need God's help to acomplish this. And, you do that by surrendering to his process of transformation and spending time with him.