I know I have struggled with this many times. It’s often after I’ve made a selfish choice and see how it impacts others that the better path is seen more clearly.
Here is what I’ve observed in my own life:
The flesh is self-centered in everything. The flesh is primarily self-concerned. The flesh seeks self-preservation. The flesh attempts to live through self-reliance.
The focus of the flesh is: how does this circumstance benefit me? What keeps me on top? What makes me feel good? How can I get my way?
Thankfully, Jesus destroyed our self-centered flesh on the cross and replaced it with the life and love in His very own Spirit.
The Spirit of Christ – the carrier of divine life and love – is contrary to the self-centered human spirit.
The Spirit is others centered. He pours out His life to benefit others. Primarily, He pours out the life of Christ into us for our benefit!
Note that in the context of Galatians 5, Paul compares the fruit of the flesh against the fruit of the Spirit. What is attributed to “sinful flesh” is stimulated by selfishness. What is attributed to the Spirit is of mutual benefit (love, joy, peace, patience, etc).
Therefore, in daily life, we can look at the motivations of our actions to determine their source. Is it to benefit ourselves above others, or is our motivation to serve others at our own cost?
Of course, this does not mean that you cannot take care of yourself, or that you must abusively neglect yourself or your health. But we generally will look out for others and take care of others first, or see that whatever they may need from us is provided. In healthy relationships, there will be a give and take, with each person serving the other and also having time to meet their own basic needs for physical, emotional, and spiritual health.
Question for discussion:
Follow the Life!