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TEXT: I Corinthians 13:5b

SUBJECT: Attributes of Love #7: Love is Not Selfish

Well kids, because we've had several guest speakers lately, we haven't had a Kids' Sermon in quite some time. Today, we'll get back to it, and I hope you'll listen carefully to the Word of God and do what is says.

All of you hear sermons pretty often, and I suppose you read the Bible now and then, but remember: the Word of God is not a magic spell. In the Fairy Tale, magic changes a handsome prince into an ugly toad. He didn't want to be changed, of course, but he was, because magic works that way. But the Word of God doesn't. Though there is more power in the Word than in the mightiest magic, it does you no good unless you believe it and obey it. That's what the Lord wants you to do-to be Doers of the Word and not hearers only.

Now, before we get to today's stuff, let me see how well you remember what we've already covered. Here goes:

If two and four are six, then today, we must be on the seventh thing love does or doesn't do-and so we are. Here it is, in the middle of v.5,

"Love.does not seek its own".

THE MEANING

To seek your own means to care for yourself only, to put yourself first, and to make your wishes far more important than the needs or the wants of other people. In a word, it means selfish.

I thought of two kinds of selfishness:

The first is thoughtless. A thoughtless person is just that-thoughtless. He never thinks of other people, of what they might want or of how what he does may hurt them. He's not mean and cruel and hateful, but he's so into himself (and what he wants), that the feelings and wishes of other people never cross his mind.

The other kind is obnoxious. If you can't have your way, you quarrel and pout and make everyone miserable until they give in and do things your way.

Peter and Dana are very different in most ways. He's a noisy brat and she's a nice, quiet girl. But they have one thing in common: they're both selfish. They both seek their own.

But love does not seek its own. Love is unselfish. Unlike Dana, it is thoughtful and unlike Peter, it is willing and happy to let others have their way.

That's what love looks like. And that's what the Lord wants you to be: unselfish.

THE DIFFICULTY

Is it easy to be unselfish?

No it isn't. Do you know why? Because we're born sinners, and that's another way of saying: we're born selfish! Not everyone knows this, but if you've got eyes in your head, you ought to know it. Let me give you a little assignment:

Go find a baby. Hand him a toy and see what he does. Now, take the toy away from him and see what he does. Babies have no problem taking things, but they have a very big problem letting go of them! Do you know why? Because-like the rest of us-babies are born selfish!

And they don't grow out of it.

THE NEEDS

This means you need God's grace to become unselfish. Trying hard is good, but it's not good enough. Something more than your effort is needed. If only your actions were selfish, you could change them. But what if your heart is selfish? The Bible says a leopard cannot change its spots. The big cat can't say, You know, I'm tired of polka dots, from now on, I'll wear stripes only!

And if the leopard can't change what he is, you can't change what you are: a sinner. Only God can do that, and will do it for everyone who repents of his sins and believes the Gospel.

It also means you have to work at being unselfish. God's grace and your works don't contradict each other, any more than a tree contradicts fruit. No, the fruit grows out of the tree and your works grow out of God's grace.

THE STEPS

What do you do to become less selfish and more thoughtful and generous?

The first thing you do is to look for selfishness in other people. You may think I made a mistake here, but I didn't. It's very hard to see your own selfishness. It's like trying to see your own eye! But it's easy to spot selfishness in other people. Do that, to see what it looks like, what it sounds like, what it feels like, even.

Then, examine yourself to see if you look this way, if your voice sounds like theirs, and if you give off the same feeling that selfish people do. If you do, it's not a funny coincidence, it's because you're selfish too.

Thirdly, pray against selfishness.

Fourthly, think of how ugly selfishness is-in you-and not just in other people.

Fifthly, take the correction of your parents. They're not always right, but more often than not, they are. If they say you're being selfish, they're probably right. But their warnings will do you no good unless you listen to them and take them to heart.

Finally, think long and hard on the example, the character, and the unselfishness of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Philippians 2:2-5 teaches us to be unselfish. It's made up of four separate commands and the last one explains both why and how to obey the first three:

Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind, let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of your look out, not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus."

The only way you'll ever be happy giving up your own wishes and doing what's best for others is by getting the mind of Christ-by thinking of yourself the way the Lord thought of Himself. He knew He was important, but He didn't insist on having His way, but was happy to live and die for others.

THE MOTIVES

Let me close now with a few motives-or reasons why you ought to become less selfish than you are.

God wants you to-and that's a very good reason. What could be plainer than the verses I just read? Do nothing through selfish ambition and conceit.Esteem others better than yourself.Look out for the interests of others.

It's good for you. No selfish person is or can be happy. Do you know why? Because no matter how mad he gets, most people won't give in to him and he won't get what he wants. But if you want what's best for others, you'll find plenty of people eager to "let you have your way".

It's good for others. Is there anything worse than someone who won't cooperate? Who has to have his way all the time, who whines and pouts when he doesn't get it? His unhappiness is like the flu-it's catching-and soon everyone's got it. Do you want to be that kind of person? Do you want to be the kind of person no one wants to be around? The kind of person parents tell their gets: Don't grow up to be like he is?

It's Christlike. If you think the Lord Jesus Christ is the Best Man Ever, then you'll only be like Him by giving up your selfish ways and choosing to live for others.

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