Selfishness: the start of all Sin

As I was choosing different verses, I found many under self, self-control, self-indulgence as well as selfish, so I chose a bunch feeling confident they all are pertinent.

Joshua 7:1     The Lord had said that everything in Jericho belonged to Him.   But Achan from the Judah tribe took some of the things from Jericho for himself.  And so the Lord was angry with the Israelites, because one of them had disobeyed him.

Psalm 119:36     Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain!

Matthew 23:25     “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!  For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence.”

Romans 2:8     but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation.   

Galatians 5:23-24    ….gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.  And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Philippians 2:3-4     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.

2 Timothy 3:1-2     But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come.  For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy,

James 3:14-16     But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth.  This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.  For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.

James 5:5     You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence.  You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter.

1 Peter 4:7     The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. 


Free choice was one of the gifts God gave to humans, and because we are just so selfish and sure of our choices and ability to run our own lives, we sin.  We are primarily selfish, and selfish people want what they want when they want it.  And few stop and think of consequences for their choices.  Primarily, they think they are always able to make the right—or at least the desired–choice of the moment, and there will be no consequences.  Eventually, the choices they make do have consequences—oftentimes, with a payment that is so very costly.  It may be a drunk driver driving and causing the death to persons in another car, or what about when the cost is more personal?  The cost of the lives of their children and spouse?  And the people who think their choice of once or twice trying an illegal and potent drug and get addicted and cannot pull their way out of the quicksand and mire of that addiction, wallowing in their own and others’ filth just for the next hit of the drug?   There are so many ways, even much less radical examples of how selfish choices can lead to consequences which are costly.  Even Cat Stevens sang a song about the consequences of working so much, a relationship with children was gone, spent.

Selfishness is a form of self-love.  It is the belief that filling whatever you desire will bring you happiness, but that is usually not the case.   Actually, selfishness is at the root of all sin.  Eve selfishly wanted the fruit from the forbidden tree.  Cain selfishly wanted God’s favor. Achan spotted and selfishly wanted the silver and other items he saw when the Israelites went in and tried to conquer, and God saw and they lost that battle.  Achan and his entire family and belongings fell into the ground when God caused it to open, then close over,  the rich man looking up to Abraham seeing a man who had been poor and abused now in heaven… Selfishness and self-indulgence costs.

Human beings for the most part tend to be selfish creatures.  I think, without learning to curb our selfish, immediate gratification desires, we are at the bottom of the food chain.  Most animals will feed until satisfied.  Large cats who kill and eat will not gorge until the hunted is totally gone.  They will eat until satisfied, saving the remainder for the next feed.  The same with most other animals.  It is just humans who will abuse what they have, overfilling because of being selfish.  It may be in buying the newest model of phone, computer, tv, outfit or whatever.  But we seem to be always “hungry” and searching for something to fill that selfish hole.

Once we find and meet Jesus, that hole feels less empty.  Our wants and desires seem less overwhelming.  Of course, we still have the physical need of nourishment, but we learn to better determine the cost or waiting vs immediate purchase of material things.  We may still want something that may not be in our best interest, but the closer we walk with Jesus, the better we are at waiting for it to come at the right time—IF it is even His will to have it.

Do we really need a brand-new phone when the one we have is a year old and working fine?  Do we need a bigger, newer model television to fill up the wall space when the one we have shows a good clear picture and is working well?  Those are desires, but not always wise choices to purchase.  Do we need a new vehicle, or just desire one?  Those may not be the most sensible choices, and surely show some selfish tendencies.  And there are consequences—paying for these items, sometimes over time can cause some shortages in your weekly or monthly allowance. 

Frequently, filling our selfish desires has consequences that become costly.  It may look like one can afford that new 86” TV, but then your transmission goes out and you need tires—your vehicle unable to pass inspection because those tires are so rundown.  When experiencing the pull of fulfilling a selfish desire, we sometimes do not stop and consider what the cost might be.  That is just filling the desire with immediate gratification; much like children who rip open packaging on toys and do not spend more than five minutes playing with them.  Desire filled, so pleased for a moment, and DONE.  But the bills are due, the cost still needs to be paid.  Do you l feel confident the item you purchased is worth the price you paid or are paying?

I have read some about Mother Teresa.  She seemed to be selfless, always giving, serving and loving, and hugging others who most disdained and found disgusting, dirty, diseased and they feared them.  She was seen loving people, and always wore a warm, loving, peaceful smile.  Her touch was real and close, not distant, fearful and judgmental.  From the media depictions of this woman, there seemed to be no selfishness in her.  She appeared to love the way Jesus did while He walked this earth. 

We all have selfish tendencies.  I have found, thankfully, that I can wait and ask God if what I want NOW is what I should purchase now, or to wait.  Or, show me if I need it at all.  It is not always easy for me to walk away when told ‘no’ but I have.  I will admit, while leaving the store parking lot without the item, some relief creeps in as I realize it was a want, not a need, and I seem to want it less as I leave the parking area.  That is a Holy Spirit awakening and reaffirming and I am grateful. 

The more I walk with Him, the more I want to do what is right.  It used to be “easy” to find an excuse and commit the sin, pushing the niggling discomfort of sinning away.  I do not even want to do that any longer.  There may be times of disappointment for a short while, but doing what He has asked gives me more pleasure.  When I purposely chose to do what I wanted, regardless of the warning to not do it, I suffered for several days, sometimes a few weeks.  Disobedience comes with a price.  Sometimes it is that nagging pall of guilt, sometimes it is the financial penalty, sometimes it turns into unhappiness with the object. I don’t do that any longer.  He is unhappy at my disobedience, and I cannot rest well when I have disobeyed.  The cost is too great for me.

So, thankfully, over time, many of my sinful yearnings and cravings have diminished.  That is one of the wonderful things of walking with Him, listening to the Holy Spirit’s prodding—and then obeying.

Thank You, God, for persistently steering me onto the path of obedience when I strove to do things in my selfish manner.  I feel much better when I walk away from a selfish desire and follow the path You have set for me and ‘mybellaviews.’.


“If we want an increase of Christ, there must be a decrease of self.”

Of all the four letter words, self is the worst.

Selfishness is the essence of sin.

                         All quotes from “The Complete Book of Zingers”  Croft M. Pentz, 1990  Tynsdale House Publishing, Inc, Wheaton, IL, pages 273-275