I think about myself. Actually I think about myself a lot! Thinking about ME is my default setting. I don't have to work hard to think about me and to focus on my own needs, agendas and wants. And yet even when I am serving others, the temptation in my heart is to still make it all about me.
I imagine that you aren't too different than me. So then how do you and I inoculate ourselves from believing and behaving in ways that are self focused, self centered and selfish?
At the risk of oversimplifying a solution, we are able to die and abandon ourselves when we fix our eyes on Jesus and the cross. When the gospel and all that Christ accomplished for us becomes a daily reality - it invites us to open our hearts and be captured and comforted by His great love for us. When this happens, it gives us the freedom and power to take our eyes off of ourselves.
Yet how do we make the gospel a daily reality? One way is by being a "repenting repenter". Turning away from my sin, selfishness, pride and the "idols of my heart", and turning to Christ and the cross. Repentance must mark our life. This was the great discovery of the Reformation.
"So began the Reformation, and at its heart lay Luther’s great discovery: Repentance is a characteristic of the whole life, not the action of a single moment.” Sinclair Ferguson, The Grace of Repentance (Tweet This)
When we live out repentance, it propels us to Jesus and the reality and beauty of the gospel, and therefore makes what Paul said to the Philippians a reality for us.
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.