Job 21:14-15 “Yet they say to God, ‘Leave us alone!
We have no desire to know your ways.
Who is the Almighty, that we should serve him?
What would we gain by praying to him?'”
This is a remarkably accurate portrait of an awful lot of people today. They literally see no benefit to themselves to serving God, so they have nothing to do with Him. They forget that life on this earth is just a prelude to eternity, and their eyes are blinded to their fate. Paul tells us clearly that it is the devil who has blinded them, (2 Corinthians 4:4) but he has done so with their full cooperation. They are self-centered, which means flesh-centered, and they don’t want to face anything that confronts them with the foolishness of that attitude. In counseling I frequently tell people that selfishness never leads to true happiness, but many of them don’t want to hear it. The best that selfishness can give us is momentary pleasure, but with the devil’s encouragement, people plunge into it anyway. Reading the account of creation in Genesis, everything God created was good. The first time that’s not the case is when God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone.” (Genesis 2:18) We isolate ourselves when we look at everyone on the basis of what they can do for us, what benefit we can get from them. That is the attitude toward God that Job is talking about here, and nothing good can possibly come of it.
I too have a decidedly self-centered streak, and it has proved to be quite stubborn. I know from experience that my greatest joy, peace, and happiness come when I am closest to God and relating rightly to others, but my flesh doesn’t want to admit that. To answer the rhetorical question that Job says evil people pose, the benefit I get from serving God and praying to Him is fulfilling the purpose for which I was created, and that is by definition the greatest of benefits. I am not to give up on myself when selfishness rears its head in my heart, but rather confess it and repent, accepting God’s strength to replace my own, so that I may walk in His way. (Isaiah 40:31) I have plenty of opportunities to deny myself, take up my cross, and follow Christ. (Luke 9:23) However difficult that might be at the moment, I know that the eternal rewards will be more than worth it. (2 Corinthians 4:17)
Father, thank You for all You allow me to go through to wean me away from being self-centered. Thank You for the joy of being a channel of Your grace to others. I pray that in the service today I would be an open channel indeed, allowing Your grace to flow through me unhindered, not just in words but in attitude and action. May I proclaim Your truth in love so that people may receive it and be set free, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!