I can not get rid of egocentrism. It hinders me in my relationships with God. How to get rid of this?
What is egocentrism?
The dictionary gives us the following definition of the word:
Egocentrism – attempting to get personal recognition for yourself (especially by unacceptable means); preoccupation with self and insensitivity to others.
Humility – the opposite of egocentrism
In the Epistle to the Philippians, the Apostle Paul has devoted the whole chapter 2 to this topic and it begins so:
Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. (Philippians 2:1-4)(NASB)
According to these verses, not to be egocentric one must:
- do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit. It depends on one’s motivation and God teaches us not to do anything to assert ourselves before others
- regard one another as more important than yourselves, and to be able to do this …
- do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others, who surround you.
But, what is it required to be able to do this?
To have the mind of Christ
This is what the Apostle Paul says further on in chapter 2 of the Epistle to the Philippians:
Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:5-11)(NASB)
It is necessary to have the mind of Christ in the heart, that means His attitude, because he was not egocentric, even if He was placed by His Father in the center of the universe and one day every knee will bow down before Him of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth and every tongue will confess that He is Lord.
Learn from people who have the mind of Christ and live for others. In the same chapter 2 the Apostle Paul presents the example of two people who were not egocentric.
The example of Timothy
He was a young man who believed wholeheartedly in the Lord Jesus and has dedicated his life to serving others in the Gospel. Paul writes thus about him:
But I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, so that I also may be encouraged when I learn of your condition. For I have no one else of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare. For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus. But you know of his proven worth, that he served with me in the furtherance of the gospel like a child serving his father. Therefore I hope to send him immediately, as soon as I see how things go with me; and I trust in the Lord that I myself also will be coming shortly. (Philippians 2:19-24)(NASB)
Although most people of his time were egocentric, because they were seeking after their own interests and not those of Christ, he, Timothy, as a child with his father, worked as a slave along with Paul for the furtherance of the Gospel. Learn from this young man as he has learned from his teacher Paul.
The Apostle tells us further …
The example of Epaphroditus
When the apostle was in prison in Rome and the church of Philippi decided to send him an aid, Epaphroditus offered himself to this job that was not easy at all to take the aid from Philippi to Rome to Paul. The task was not easy and on the way he got sick to death. But, let us better read what Paul himself wrote to Philippians about Epaphroditus:
But I thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger and minister to my need; because he was longing for you all and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick. For indeed he was sick to the point of death, but God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, so that I would not have sorrow upon sorrow. Therefore I have sent him all the more eagerly so that when you see him again you may rejoice and I may be less concerned about you. Receive him then in the Lord with all joy, and hold men like him in high regard; because he came close to death for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was deficient in your service to me. (Philippians 2:25-30)(NASB)
Epaphroditus was not egocentric. Otherwise, he would have stayed home to do his job. But he always thought at the benefits of others and felt with them. Because he thought of Paul, he chose to risk his life to get with the aid to Rome.
Lord Jesus help us to learn from such people who understood that the essence of faith in God is serving others and giving themselves for others.
Translated by Felicia Rotaru