A man once asked me, “What is your biggest problem?” I replied, “I see my biggest problem every day in the mirror.” I am referring to those “me first” desires that lurk in my heart.
In James 4:1 we read: “Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?” The words “desires for pleasure” refer to our self-serving desires. That’s why in James 1:14 we are told: “Each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.” James warns that such “me first” desires will destroy our friendship with God (4:4) and cause divisions, wars, and fights (vv.1-2).
Therefore, we are told to put off “me first” thinking. How do we do this? First, “Submit to God” (4:7). We need to get our ranking right—God is God and His will must always be first. Second, “Draw near to God” (v.8). Deal with those desires that lead to sin by going to God for cleansing. Don’t be double-minded, desiring both evil and good. But rather desire to please God alone. Third, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord” (v.10). Then “He will lift you up.”
Remember, “me first” living is not the key to success. Put God first.
Just like a Pharisee,
Until one day, quite by surprise,
I caught a glimpse of me. —Hawthorne