“Stop being greedy”
This is a phrase that I felt God speak to me earlier this week. I was taken aback by this statement; I don’t think of myself as a “greedy” person. I protested with God, pleading my case and forming my argument about why I wasn’t greedy (as if arguing with God does any good). Then God began to show me areas in which I had been greedy, none of which involved money. Greed begins with a mindset, one that can invade every area of your life if you let it.
In Luke 12:15-21 Jesus addresses this issue with the crowd:
“Speaking to the people, he went on, “Take care! Protect yourself against the least bit of greed. Life is not defined by what you have, even when you have a lot.”
Then he told them this story: “The farm of a certain rich man produced a terrific crop. He talked to himself: ‘What can I do? My barn isn’t big enough for this harvest.’ Then he said, ‘Here’s what I’ll do: I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll gather in all my grain and goods, and I’ll say to myself, Self, you’ve done well! You’ve got it made and can now retire. Take it easy and have the time of your life!’
“Just then God showed up and said, ‘Fool! Tonight you die. And your barnful of goods—who gets it?’
“That’s what happens when you fill your barn with Self and not with God.”
I realized during my conversation with God that I had begun to fill my heart and my life with love of self instead of the love of God. The focus of self is the root of greed and one that must be uprooted before it rapidly spreads.
If greed originates with focusing on self then the antidote to greed is selflessness.
I don’t know about you, but on various occasions I’ve tried to be selfless upon my own accord, only to fail miserably in the end. I’m learning, day by day, that to be selfless, to be the person I want to be and who I feel God has called me to be, comes from consistent submission to God.
Sin, selfishness, and the worship of self entered the world in the garden when Adam and Eve decided to disobey God. Ever since then, people have been fighting against these selfish tendencies. Humanity never stood a chance in this fight until Jesus came. He was the one, after all, who decided to humble himself and take the form of a man, the most selfless act in all of history. The curse and bond of selfishness was only broken when Selflessness made an appearance.
The only way to remove the sin of self from your heart is to invite true Selflessness into your life.
When you make room for God in your life, heart, and mind, those other things have no choice but to move. In what areas of your heart are you being greedy? Are there parts of your life where self reigns supreme? Submit those areas to God and watch him begin to change you from the inside out.
To go Deeper: Read Why Greed Begets More Greed