“Neither give place to the devil. “–Ephesians 4:27
All too often, the worst enemy of the church is . . . the church. New believers do not grow in Christ because “older” believers who have not matured become the primary stumbling blocks by their poor example. Selfishness and arrogance so often serve in the church’s most visible and crucial positions of ministry. One of the church’s favorite hymns, Holy, Holy, Holy, has shifted its focus from “God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!” to “Me, Myself, and I!”
Warren Wiersbe wrote, “When the enemy fails in his attacks from the outside, he then begins to attack from within, and one of his favorite weapons is selfishness.” Selfishness is defined as having the attitude that people exist merely to meet my agenda, my wishes, my needs, and the value of anything (people, church, God, etc.) is determined only in light of what it can do for me.
This attitude is revealed not only in outward behavior but also in secret thoughts. If left unchecked, it ultimately poisons the heart. Selfishness destroys friendships, marriages, ministries, and churches; it also destroys mission fields and all other sacred projects where God is clearly at work.
The Ephesian church was struggling with this problem, so Paul dedicated nearly an entire chapter to exhort the believers. He wrote, “Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.“(Eph. 4:25-27)
These verses clearly warn us that the devil actually watches us. And he longs for opportunities birthed by selfish believers. No wonder he baits his hook with self-centered advice, whispering, “Don’t think about others, think only of yourself: your desires, your life, your money, your plans, your career, your retirement, your position, your agenda, your ministry.”
Frankly, we are all terminally infected with selfishness, and it lies at the core of every act. That is why selfishness is such a productive and powerful weapon in the hands of Satan. He will use it against us whenever he can. It must never be excused; it must never be coddled; it must be cut away daily! Sometimes . . . moment by moment.
Thank the Lord for His example of selflessness and servanthood, and ask Him for the discipline to imitate His spirit throughout this day.–Stephen Davey