Selfish is innate to the human condition! Due to the nature of sin, we are ALL sinful. That usually manifests itself as different types of selfishness. Pride is the default of the human heart. Selfish and “alive” are synonyms. That includes YOU and ME!

Under selfishness is pride. We think that whatever we want, desire, or are doing is more important than others’. We think, but don’t say… “Don’t inconvenience me with you… you and I should both agree on how important I am”. Selfish people get married and have miserable lovers… that’s just the way it works.

On a scale from 1 to 10, where 1 is Jesus… how would you rate your selfishness?

Our world and lives encourages selfishness.

Martin Luther said “Sin is the self bending in on the self”.

Part One of the Real Marriage Conference Series –  Session #1: Friend (Not Plural!) With Benefits.

Part Two of the Real Marriage Conference Series –  Session #2: Sex: God, Gross, or Gift? with Q&A.

Part Four of the Real Marriage Conference Series –  Session #4: Can We [insert something sexual]? with Q&A.

Selfishness & Pride

Proverbs 8:13: “The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.”

Proverbs 16:5: “Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the LORD; be assured, he will not go unpunished.”

Proverbs 16:18: “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”

  • “In pride… we don’t love or serve our spouses… we USE them for our desires and purposes.”
  • “Self esteem”, “self activation”, “positive self image”… all are pride.
  • In American culture, pride has become an extolled virtue, not a vice.
  • God’s Plan A is humility. His Plan B is humiliation.
  • We should pray to be clothed in humility. This enabled us to put on the cloak and disposition of Christ.
  • In Western  culture, pride is something that should be aspired to instead of repented of.
  • You can never be proud of your humility…. that defeats the reality of humility! However, you can be someone humbly pursuing humility.

3 Types of Marriages: Selfishness & Humility

  1. 2 selfish people trying to get / take what each wants, using the other = a BRUTAL marriage.
  2. 1 selfish person, 1 humble servant = an ABUSIVE marriage because one maintains a hard heart while the other seeks to serve.
  3. 2 humble servants = proud people pursuing humility by the grace of God.
Mark 10:43,45: “43 But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

2 humble servants leads to a better marriage, not a bitter marriage.

Awareness is the first step!

Humility, Love, & Service

Philippians 2:3-83 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

  • We look Jesus as THE unselfish servant. He was the suffering, unselfish, servant.
  • As the disciples argued about who was the greatest… in the presence of God.., Jesus takes the disciple’s sinful desires and redirects the conversation to teach them about holiness.
  • Selfish people want to marry someone like them so they can always get what they want… they don’t want to change, compromise, or accomodate.
  • The Holy Spirit allows us to start thinking and living like Jesus…
  • Jesus set aside his rights, not his diety, to live as we do… as a poor human… this is an incredible act of humility.
  • All Christians are called to be servants… it is high honor because it is an office Jesus held for us.
  • If you have a child centered home, you will think you are serving your spouse, when you are rally serving your family… those are not the same.
  • Some people have the gift of service… they like to help people and do things, that they often can miss that they aren’t being served, which can unknowingly build up.
  • Humble people can receive correction.

Selfishness is Often in the Little Things

Song of Solomon 2:15: Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards, for our vineyards are in blossom.

  • Foxes gnaw at our roots to disconnect us from the “Vine”. As the root is separated, we are assured ruin.
  • What are the little foxes that gnaw at my / our roots?

Questions on Selfishness

  1. Do you consider your spouse and his/her needs above your own?
  2. Do you do thankless menial tasks in love to God and your spouse?
  3. Do you humbly receive instruction and correction because you are a sinner?
  4. Do you encourage your spouse more than you criticize?
  5. Are you able to serve AND be served? Not allowing yourself to be served is arrogant.
  6. Do you continually ask the Holy Spirit to make you like Jesus?

Servant Lovers

1 Corinthians 7:5-75 Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 6 Now as a concession, not a command, I say this. 7 I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another.

  • 15-20% of couples do not have an active sex life (no more than 10 times per year). This is wrong!
  • In Christianity, we initiate discipline for going too far, but not for the opposite… not having sex is a very bad situation.
  • We must willfully, earnestly, and continually humble ourselves to serve our spouse.
  • We should enjoy our spouse!

Ways We are Selfish Lovers

  1. Rarely have sex.
  2. Too little time and too little effort.
  3. Only have sex when you both feel like it at the same time.
  4. We rarely initiate.
  5. Let ourselves go and become undesirable.
  6. Sexual sabotage.
  7. Make our spouses earn sex.
  8. Sharing our bed with children and pets.
  9. Separate beds or rooms.

Being Visually Generous

  • “Roughly 25% of women and nearly 100% of men are “visual”!

Questions & Answers with Pastor Mark & Grace

“How do you differentiate between pride and confidence… and how do you gain confidence without pride?”

  • You can be humble and have confidence; you can be arrogant and have pride.
  • We are NOT called to be “doormats”. Being a doormat is NOT humble. Being a doormat is arrogant pride because it values other people’s opinions more than God’s… it basically uses false humility of “turn the other cheek” so other people will think well of us (which, again, is not humility).
  • Sometimes we have to confidently and lovingly rebuke and challenge each other.
  • We can look to the life of Christ as an example of humble confidence.
  • God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble.
  • We can have confidence … not in ourselves… but in the grace of God.
  • Confidence is ultimately rooted in the grace of God. Arrogance is rooted in my own abilities, talents, and skills.
  • As we make proclamations, we should add “by the grace of God” or “Lord willing” to appropriately orient desires and passions.

I find it unrealistic that sex should be saved for after marriage.. shouldn’t we be sexually compatible?

  • Scripture tells us to keep the marriage and the marriage bed pure. It also says to not prematurely awaken love.
  • Marriage is the only safe place for sexuality because it is the most intimate place.
  • It’s selfish to take purity from someone.
  • These questions usually involve consumption of porn. Through this, other people have been objectified to perform for the guy sexual, and he wants to use the woman for this purpose as well. He wants to make sure he gets what he wants.
  • For “Christian’s”… this position is completely selfish and sinful, the height of arrogance and pride, it’s assuming you are the world’s most amazing lover and you need someone to do Cirque de Soleil for you.
  • This basically says “I want to try on different people to see what I like after I compare them to one another”. Sexual comparison is DEMONIC. 
  • Having no comparison is beautiful and pure.
  • “Everything looks different when you have a daughter.”
  • If you don’t compare your spouse to others… how will you know if you aren’t compatible?
  • People often ask those pursuing abstinence, “How will you know if she is any good?”… The wonderful response is “How will I know if she is bad?” Amen! Let’s be realistic… if you’ve experienced nothing… EVERYTHING is going to be awesome.

How do you go from a brutal relationship to a servant-servant relationships without getting into an abusive (selfish-servant) relationship, without being taken advantage of?

  • Respond to conviction as the Holy Spirit leads… someone has to “go first”, someone has to call a truce (this happens through face-face, friendly conversations).
  • We have to trust God’s leanings and the courage provided by the Holy Spirit.
  • It’s important to be teachable. It’s scary to go first… but as the Holy Spirit leads, he can provide what’s needed.
  • You should also stay in prayer for change in yourself and the other.
  • Women can be afraid of the responses that can come if she is willing to serve. She doesn’t want to feel rejected.
  • There’s a difference between serving and enabling… It’s NOT loving to let your husband get away with sin, but the truth should be spoken respectfully, loving, and carefully… with proper tone, time, and place.
  • When Satan has victory, we experience misery.
  • You should definitely have a humble and honest conversation with your spouse. Not saying anything is bad because it can create delusion. If your spouse does not know how you feel, that’s not his/her fault. This inappropriately enables the spouses pride.
  • Christ doesn’t give or tell us what we want, but what we need. He doesn’t tell us what we want, He tells us what we need.
  • Servant-hood is NOT equivalent in any way to being a voiceless, weak, and submissive “employee”.
  • As a servant, Christ experience conflict and said some things that others didn’t like. It ALL goes back to Jesus. 
  • Marriage is best learned by observing Jesus and the Church.

What advice do you have for a marriage when 1 person is sexually satisfied and the other is not?

  • You have to talk about it!.. Set aside an appropriate time to have the conversation.
  • You shouldn’t harbor ill will or resentment to your spouse.
  • Check your own motives and the source of your desires and curiosities… if you watch a lot of porn or are comparing your spouse to someone else, that is not healthy or correct.
  • Are you dissatisfied because there is something wrong with YOU that you need to repent of?… or is there something wrong with the relationship.
  • Talk playfully and in a fun way… don’t make it an awkward or frustrating conversation.
  • Study 1 Corinthians 7 TOGETHER.
  • As we connect  more deeply with Christ and the Holy Spirit compels intimacy… and leads the couple to new freedom, joy, and passion.
  • It’s not about “winning” … it’s about WORSHIPING! 
  • Sometimes we just have wrong information about what is appropriate… so we should study scripture.
  • Sometimes you may be believing lies!
  • Your spouse does not expect perfection… they simply desire the HOPE OF PROGRESS.
  • This is incredibly common, and often each spouse is waiting for the other to broach the conversation because they feel awkward. You have to talk!

Part One of the Real Marriage Conference Series –  Session #1: Friend (Not Plural!) With Benefits.

Part Two of the Real Marriage Conference Series –  Session #2: Sex: God, Gross, or Gift? with Q&A.

Part Four of the Real Marriage Conference Series –  Session #4: Can We [insert something sexual]? with Q&A.

Buy the Book: “Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship & Life Together” by Pastor Mark & Grace Driscoll