5 Questions You Ask before Making a Selfish Decision

Is it me, or does September seem like months ago? Way back on the 10th of last month, Hannah from Becoming Lost posted this article on her blog. It’s a call to an undivided heart; to lay aside trivial activities so we can take up eternal ones. It’s the blog post that inspired this discussion . And it made me think. A lot. Here’s what I commented after I read her post:

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Today, I think again about the middle part of what I wrote in that comment: “I don’t even have to think in order to live for the advancement of my own kingdom. It’s what I do by default.”

Wouldn’t you agree that – being broken and fallen human beings – selfishness comes naturally to us? No one has to teach us to want our own good. It’s so deep-rooted that it infects all our choices, particularly when we don’t stop to consider the situation in the light of eternity.

So with that said, here are 5 questions you (and I!) subconsciously ask prior to making a selfish decision – that is when you’re about to choose your kingdom over God’s:

0079-5-questions-you-ask-before-making-a-selfish-decision
These are the subconscious comparisons we make of our options – in small, everyday situations.

#1. Which option is the easiest?

We’re all about easy. Humanity is constantly seeking out life hacks to make existence easier. What if God wants you and I to opt for a harder path?

#2. Which option is the cheapest?

Of course, we can’t deny that money is a very real part of life. It’s how we (or our parents) keep bread on the table and pay the electricity bill. But what if we can benefit from learning to sacrifice our own finances for the good of someone else?

#3. Which option is the quickest?

“Money is time.” I don’t have financial independence enough to personally verify the quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin. But I can say that I tend to run around throughout the day to get as much done as I can. We don’t need to think twice to make a decision that promises more time.

#4. Which option is the least awkward?

This is all about the comfort zone. On multiple occasions, I have failed to start a conversation with someone on account of my fear of awkwardness. Imagine a world where people dared to step out of their comfort zones more often.

#5. Which option yields the most/best benefits

I guess this where everything miscellaneous fits. Sometimes a given pathway comes with a bonus that gets you so excited. Which option is the most fun? Which option will people like you most for choosing? Which option will help you accomplish _______? Which option…

DISCLAIMER: I do not mean to say that everything easy is bad or that you should avoid the quickest path. Far from it! I think that these can be good ways to analyze an important decision and can help us be objective wise. I suppose you could enter a whole new bunny trail by following that train of thought. In fact, there’s a good conversation starter for the comments: How do you know when God is calling you to go against the norms… or when you’re doing it just for the sake of doing it?

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Comment with #6

 

More conversation starters

  • Do you default to the Kingdom of Self, like I do? How would you explain this tendency?
  • This blog post assumes that selfish living is wrong living. Why is it wrong?
  • When is a good time to consider factors such as ease, cost, time, etc?
  • When you find yourself wrongly basing a decision on one or all of these options, alone, what is a good question that you can replace it/them with to align your thinking with God’s Kingdom?
  • What’s your #6? What would you add to my list?



Resources for deeper digging

Psst! For more on:

  • Doing Hard Things (for God’s Kingdom, not just for the sake of it): I recommend this book, to youth in particular.


 

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6 thoughts on “5 Questions You Ask before Making a Selfish Decision

  1. I love those reflexions. These 5 questions are a true filtre for our “natural” décisions. What would my Lord answer to them? What about the most He was willing to pay? What was easy, quick, less akward, cheap with great benefits in giving His life for sinners? Easy? He left His glory. Quick? He spent 33 years in à mortal body to teach and suffer. Less akward? Try to tell people that they are sinners When they believe they are the holy chosen ones. Cheap? His life was far from cheap to give away for us. Benefits? We get the benefits, not Him. Keep these posts coming. You have true inspiration and are a true inspiration.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Wow, André! Those are some thought-provoking reflections. I hadn’t thought to turn the questions around and look at how Jesus responded. He truly did set an example for us. What excuse left do we have? Thanks for your thoughtful comment!

      And as always, thank you for your encouragement. Truly, may God be glorified.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post Jordy, and a great comment by Andre, a unique perspective for certain.

    I agree that by instinct we are mostly selfish but I also believe it’s through our experiences that we learn that our sacrifice and respect for the greater good of all, or through our acts of giving, that we actually benefit personally. We receive the greatest amount of reward for what we do for others, wouldn’t this action also be considered selfish then…but in a positive nature.

    Most of what we do is in reaction to what’s occurring around us. This is when we get our ego’s involved and can become selfish in the ways you described above I think. It’s when we live with intention that we have the possibility of achieving rewards that could be seen as selfish or selfless. Sometimes our actions may benefit the greater good but are done for selfish reasons, like I described before, or even worse….in an attempt to earn our way into heaven.

    I guess what I believe is that a person should be consciously aware of their actions and act with respect to the greater good of all, but their actions are measured by the weight they put on their spirit. I think that’s a good way to measure whether something is done for selfish reasons or otherwise, whether it uplifts us or not.

    What do you think?

    I love what your doing with your posts now Jordy, especially with the opportunities for discussion, great idea. As always you enlighten and inspire 🙂

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    1. A few of your thoughts really stand out to me, Michelle. “Instinct” is a great way to put it – that by *instinct* we are mostly selfish.

      Another interesting thought you brought up is what you said about us benefitting personally from making choices for the greater good of all and hence isn’t even that selfish. I think that’s a good question to think upon. My immediate reflections in response to that would be that I agree: making sacrifices does benefit us ultimately. And I think it’s another way that we see God’s incredible design. When we trust Him by letting go of things that we tend to deem important, *especially* for His sake, we often reap benefits. I would add that these benefits are more often benefits of character rather than material benefits. What do you think? I like to bounce thoughts off you. 🙂

      I appreciate what you said about how attempting to earn our way into heaven is selfish – especially that you used “attempting”. That’s so in line with what the Bible says – that if we are saved, it’s a gift, not because of what we may have done to earn it. I’m not sure if you implied all that by your statement, but I fully agree, anyway.

      By what you said a bit before that, were you meaning that we can’t unintentionally do something selfish (or selfless, for that matter)? That train of thought could lead into some interesting conversation. I’m curious as to what you meant.

      If I understand what you’re saying about how actions should be measured by the weight we put on our spirit then I would agree, at least in part. I base this on how the Bible says that God looks at our heart (as opposed to our outward appearance). But I also think there comes a point where sin is sin no matter what our intentions might be, and I don’t think that God would put you or me in a position where we have to do something wrong in order to achieve “the greater good”. I’m not entirely sure if this is what you meant. Feel free to clarify. X)

      My friend, you kind words warm my heart. All praise to God for any way you might be inspired. I do believe true, lasting inspiration comes from Him! X)

      Hasn’t this gotten long? It’s a pleasure to talk with you! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey Jordy, I have to say that I don’t agree, I don’t think the personal benefits are most often in the form of building character. I have come to a point in my life where I understand that there is a nature to the blessings we receive from the universe. I think that by practicing gratitude on a daily basis and by thinking and acting selflessly, the energy we emit draws positive experiences towards us. And by contrast, when we practice negative behavior, negative things are drawn towards us. Positive experiences are often in the form of blessings, specifically, the occurrence of opportunity. I think that when acting in accordance with what is for the greater good, or what does not go against are natural tendency toward spiritual growth, that our mind becomes more open to possibility and because of this, more opportunities appear to present themselves to us. It is all a matter of our perception. Scientifically, everything in creation is vibrational, and it emits a wavelength that resonates with wavelengths that are in harmony. I just think that this is the natural way of things, or “Gods Symphony”, like music. I do agree with you that acting for the greater good builds character because we experience joy or a sense of bliss (inner peace) when we can be of service to others in a positive manner. The very act of that service lightens our spirit our brings God’s light into us – I think because when we act in this way, we resonate with God, or are in harmony with him. What do you think?

    To answer your next question, I think that we unconsciously commit selfless acts depending upon our nature, and even because of our upbringing or by the way in which we have conformed to the community that surrounds us. Like many men from the south are more polite than say a mid 20’s guy from New York might be. They open doors for a lady or don’t walk in front of them, they say yes ma’am and no ma’am and excuse themselves before leaving a room. They are neighborly and show up in support for fellow members of their community or “group”. things like that are part of unconscious behavior and are done instinctively and by reflex depending upon our character. People often do good deeds for selfish reasons, one of which is for the ego. For example, they would do a good deed because it would stroke their ego by making them appear to be of high character to onlookers, or for many different types of personal gain such as winning people over (like seduction), people are by nature sovereign beings, who’s understanding and interaction with the world around us is only ever experienced within ourselves, so we are by our very nature – selfish – by the experiences we choose to have through our actions – whether they are positive or negative experiences or serve to enlighten or hinder us. ….. I think that “God” loves everyone and all things equally and does not judge, the only form of judgement we will ever experience is our own, because all of our experiences occur within our own realm of perception, or within our own mind. God is all things and is a positive force or a force that doesn’t contain the chaos of opposing forces – things that are out of harmony. He would be a sort of magnetic or energetically charged force that provides energy or enlightenment to everything. I think that when we behave in ways that resonate with God, we become more familiar, or closer to everything in creation (because God is everything) – and that brings us comfort, or blessings, or joy, or what have you, because we crave acceptance and understanding and harmony by nature. What do you think?

    I don’t think weight is always put upon our spirit, when we think negatively it weighs upon us, feels heavy, or brings our spirits to an uncomfortable vibration. When we are positive, in harmony with God, it uplifts us, enlightens us, and helps us grow spiritually, emotionally and mentally. But here’s an interesting thought – you mentioned that sin doesn’t produce positive results, but I think it can and does sometimes. I did something recently that you could consider a sin (woops) and it was a really negative experience that weighed heavily on me but then it turned into something positive because I learned something from it. It turned out that my behavior benefitted me because it enlightened me and served to ultimately improve my life. So by doing something wrong, I actually bettered my personal experience which will benefit those around me by the new perspective I bring to my interactions with the world around me.

    I’m so glad you asked all these questions, this has been some real food for thought ( I’m sure you can tell by the way I’ve gone on and on here…lol) Sorry to make this so long 🙂 I love having these kinds of conversations though, just awesome. It’s always a pleasure to chat with you Jordy, I’m so glad to know you – much love – Michelle

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    1. Wow, my friend! You just wrote a novel. …I should be careful using that expression with a writer of real novels. 😉 But the point remains, I can only imagine how much time you put into your comments here!

      I want to start by acknowledging that I don’t understand everything – not even a quarter of everything! In particular, some of the things you said about vibrations, energy and wavelengths are beyond me! I can only comment according to my limited understanding of the Bible. Some of the things I say are wrong; that’s because I’m wrong, not because the Bible is wrong. And I don’t say them because I think they’re wrong, I honestly say what I believe is true, and I look to the Bible for truth. But I love to converse with you, person-to-person.

      I was ready to ask why you wrote “God” in quotation marks. But after reading more of your message, I think I know why. You think of God as a concept or idea, right? Maybe that’s not how you think of Him, but based on your comment, that’s how I understand it. I look to the Bible to learn who God is. From it, I understand that He is personal and that He is not creation nor is He “everything”, but rather He is the Creator.

      The way you talk about God makes it sound as though He is subject to natural laws and can be explained by them. We I look in the Bible, I understand that He is supernatural. He is in heaven and He does whatever pleases Him (see Psalm 115:3 for reference as to what I base my convictions on). I also believe He is a personal Being, not an impersonal force. All through the Bible, we see Him display His character and a variety of emotions (Psalm 2:4 and Zephaniah 3:17).

      I keep quoting Bible verses because this is where look to for my understanding of who God is. Where do you look to know who God is and what He is like?

      I know you asked me what I thought about a few specific things, so let me make sure I’ve answered you. 😉

      You referred to science to explain God. I think that science points to a Creator and reveals what He is like. It even says so clearly in the Bible (Romans 1:20 in case you’re interested. Yes, the Bible again. I told you that’s where I look for my understanding about these things). But I don’t agree that science can explain God. Science deals with the natural; God is supernatural. As for the wavelengths, I’m honestly not sure how that all works.

      And regarding what I think about being in harmony with God, I think that it happens when we allow the Holy Spirit to work in us. It’s a supernatural occurrence enabled by God. I do believe that we play our part by submitting to Him when He reveals His will to us, but I don’t agree that’s it’s something that we can produce or manufacture.

      Sorry for the looong reply. I hope I didn’t appear to ramble on and on. Again, I’m glad to hear from you. Love! xx

      Like

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