Romans 15.2-4 We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.

Pleasing self and pleasing Christ are mutually exclusive. Self pleasing and self denial pull you in opposite directions. These verses form the basis of Christian fellowship; we are to build one another up, not bite and devour one another. A Christ-centered, others-focused mentality is vital for growth in Christ.

But an serious infection has entered into the contemporary body of Christ. It is the cult of selfishness. Selfishness is the largest cult and denomination on the planet. In the note section of The Heritage a Reformation Study a Bible we read this “According to Jesus, if a person wants to come after Him, they must learn to deny themselves, to say no to self and its demands. Self-denial begins with the recognition that our problems in life result from consulting our own will, going our own way, and living for our own ends. Christ must show us that to be self-centered and self-serving is self-destructive. This cult of self is the outworking of the sinful nature with which we are born. We must turn our backs on it in order to follow Christ. Self-denial is so basic to the Christian life that Christ includes it as the third petition of His model prayer. “Thy will be done” means “Grant that we and all men may renounce our own will, and without murmuring obey Thy will, which is only good” (Heidelberg Catechism, Q. 124).”

Beloved, we all tend to get wrapped up in ourselves. That is the nature of the flesh. “My will be done” is the mantra of the cult of selfishness. Someone else will serve. Someone else will make that call. Someone else will go the extra mile. Hat someone else beloved is you and me. To live to please Christ can never be separated from living to please and serve one another. An acronym for the word joy is this: Jesus, Others, and you. That is the proper order in following Christ. Self preservation is the path of despair and destruction, self denial is the pathway to life and that more abundantly.