Bible Verses About Selfishness
As we observe the world around us today, the wickedness and evil within humankind’s own heart is evident before our very eyes today. Greed and pride have robbed creation of its beauty and degraded its quality resulting in millions suffering. For believers, we must resist all temptation and selfishness as those evil desires can lead to sinful actions. It can be very difficult to think of others first when we live in a world that prioritizes “me”. This is especially true when we want something for ourselves and when giving to others may impede us receiving what we want.
Selfishness can show itself in many different ways, forms, and emotions. If you have been struggling in this area and are in need of some encouragement or wisdom to help overcome selfishness, then have a look at the following verses and take some time to meditate on God’s heart in regards to thinking of others above ourselves.
Here are 30 Bible verses about selfishness you should consider:
- James 3:16: “For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.”
- James 4:1-2: “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God.”
- Galatians 6:2: “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
- 1 Corinthians 13: 4-6: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.”
- 1 Corinthians 10:24: “Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.”
- 1 John 3:17: “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?”
- 2 Timothy 3:2-4: “People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God– “8. 8.
- Philippians 2:3: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.”
- Philippians 2:4: “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
- Philippians 2:21: “For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.”
- Romans 15:1-3: “We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.”
- Romans 2:8: “But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.”
- Luke 6:32-34: “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full.
- Galatians 5:26: ”Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”
- Proverbs 28:27: “He who gives to the poor will lack nothing, but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses.”
- James 4:6: “But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
- Acts 20:35: “In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
- Proverbs 28:27: “Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered.”
- 2 Corinthians 5:15: “And he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.”
- Proverbs 26:12: “Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.”
- 2 Corinthians 8:9: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.”
- Ezekiel 28:17: “Your heart was proud because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor. I cast you to the ground; I exposed you before kings, to feast their eyes on you.”
- Romans 12:13: “Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.”
- Galatians 5:16-17: “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.”
- Luke 17:33: “Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it.”
- John 15:13: “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”
- Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
- Matthew 19:21: “Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”
- 1 John 2:15-16: “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world.”
- Proverbs 18:1: “Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.”
How to Overcome Selfishness:
The first thing you must do to overcome selfishness is to first understand the reason why you want to overcome it. Permanent change will not come without sincere understanding. You may have your personal reasons to overcome selfishness which a moment of self-reflection can clarify. The Bible also provides many reasons why individuals should seek the selfless road. For one, Jesus Christ, the foundation of Christianity, set the standard of selflessness for his disciples whether 2,000 years ago or today.
After confirming the “why”, the next step is to learn how to recognize selfishness. It is important to realize that, although selfishness is a word to describe someone who is excessively or exclusively concerned about their own welfare, it is a word that is appropriately used in the context of a relationship. One cannot be selfish if one is not in a relationship with others.
For instance, a single woman may spend all her time watching movies but others would not call her selfish. However, a married woman who does the same activity can be perceived as selfish because she is now being “selfish towards” somebody else.
As Christians, we are not on our own. We are in a relationship with God and Christ, and with our fellow brothers and sisters. Therefore, to recognize selfishness on our part, there are questions we can ask ourselves:
- Is my relationship with God a one-way street, where I talk and don’t listen?
- Do I spend more of my time doing things that I like doing instead of spending time together with God?
- Does God know and remember the things that matter to me? What about the other way around?
Of course, there are plenty more questions one can ask but it boils down to one question: Do I show them that I care about them?
Finally, after honest self-reflection and examination of the nature of your relationship with God and Christ, there is something needed in order to overcome selfishness: humility. Only when the love for the other is greater than the love of ourselves can selfishness transform to selflessness. It is when the self is removed from the equation, hence the word selflessness.
Selflessness does not mean to devalue oneself but rather to give value to the other.
There is not really a magic formula that can do away with selfishness but it requires effort; effort to recognize and acknowledge and give importance to the other.
We, who are in a relationship with God, must sincerely ask ourselves:
When I wake up in the morning, do I go about my day as if this breath was a right? Or do I recognize that it has been given to me?
When I feel the heart beating in my chest, do I acknowledge the one who died so that it can live?
When I open this Bible and flip through its pages, do I recognize that the Words of comfort and peace within are written in blood and sacrifice?
When I live my life, every moment and every breath, do I recognize that many first had overcome their own selfishness so that I, too, can now have the chance to do the same?