Results of an "I-Centered" Life
“Wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.” (James 3:16, NLT)
When “I” am at the center of everything in my life, that’s sin.
We all have an “I” problem: I want it my way; I will do my thing; I have to take care of myself first; I don’t have time for others; I am the most important thing.
Growing up, my dad taught me the danger of I-focused living by pointing out that the middle letter of “sin” is “I.” At the root of sin is self-centeredness, and the middle letter of “pride” just also happens to be “I.” Where else does this apply? All “crime” is self-centered. A lot of social problems in the world today are caused by three groups with “I” at the center: racists, sexists, and chauvinists. All of these work off the philosophy that “I am better than you.”
What other I-centered sins happen when you start living a self-focused life? You start to “whine” and “criticize.” You turn “envious,” “deceitful,” “defiant,” and “merciless”—because you want grace for yourself but not for others.
What are the results of living a self-focused life? Guilt, fatigue, pessimism, hostility, and emptiness—all with “I” at the center.
What is the only antidote to an I-focused life? You have to change your focus.
You were made by God and for God. And you will only find peace and purpose when you focus your life on him. “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you” (Isaiah 26:3 NLT).
Talk It Over
Take some time to examine what most of your thoughts, goals, and schedule are focused on. In what ways is your life I-focused? How is it God-focused?
How have you seen selfishness affect your life and the lives of others?
What are some practical ways you can keep your focus on God?
This devotional © 2020 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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