Is all of this “shelter-in-place” making your shelter feel like the Hunger Games? Well, hopefully the following from Matt Swanson might help!
When my wife and I were engaged, we read a book that is sort of sarcastically titled “What did you expect” by Paul Tripp. The thesis of the book is something like this, the main problem in most relationships is that “I am selfish.” Sure the other people in your life are selfish too, but you can’t control them, all you can control is you. James says it this way.
James 4:1-4 says,
What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? 2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. 4 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
I suspect a lot of us find all this extra time at home a bit frustrating. We’re frustrated we can’t go out. We’re frustrated with our siblings and parents. But I want to ask you today. How much of your frustration is rooted in selfishness? When I was asked this question during pre-marital counseling, it shook me. Prior to getting married I lived with one of my best friends, Jimmy. As a roommate I found myself frustrated with Jimmy at times, but as I thought about this question of selfishness, I realized that a vast majority of frustration with Jimmy had nothing to do with Jimmy – he was simply in the way of my selfishness. So, while we’re socially distancing from most people and now cooped up with our families – are we living generously? Are we serving our families? Or are we living selfishly?
So here is the challenge – how can you be giving and selfless with the people you live with every day this week? Can you help clean up more than you normally do? Is your little brother really on your nerves, when in reality he just wants you to spend some time playing with him? Can you schedule a half hour a day where you just play with him doing whatever he wants – with a smile and genuine interest? Let’s set aside our pride which under-girds our selfishness, and serve and love our families well.
James 4 and Philippians 2:3-4
1. In what ways have I been selfish with my family during social distancing?
2. What could I do actively to be self toward the members of my family?
3. Pray that God will humble us and reveal to us ways we can lovingly serve during this season
Originally Published April 27, 2020