“(Love) is … not self-seeking”.

1 Cor 13:5 NIV

The natural tendency in all of us is to be self-seeking. Some would go so far as to say that we are incurably self-seeking. But to go that far would be to deny the possibility of Christ bringing us to maturity and filling us with love. And every year the Salvation Army mount a world-wide call to people to deny themselves and give generously to their funds. They call it “Self-Denial Week”. Empowered by the Holy Spirit and motivated by the sacrificial love of Jesus, any Christian disciple can deny himself or herself, especially when there is some clear purpose or need.

In these verses in 1 Corinthians 13 using “a few deft strokes Paul paints a picture of the person who is moved and filled with the love of God. In so doing he also throws into relief the self-centredness of much Corinthian – and modern – Church life. Only the love of God, keeping us in a deep experience of his complete acceptance of us as we are, can enable us to face up to our self-centredness, to renounce it, and to look for light to shine in our inner darkness. In the love of God there is no place for asserting our rights, despising our gifts, envying our brothers and sisters, or treating them insensitively and boorishly. Such love, in any case, turns us outwards to look to the needs and interests of others: when we notice that our behaviour or attitudes are damaging or offending another person, love propels us to deal with such inner darkness through the grace of the Lord. There is no local church anywhere which does not need more love for this very basic purpose” (D. Prior, The Message of 1 Corinthians, p231).


Lord, keep me from being self-centred.