Taken from Come, Let Us Adore Him: A Daily Advent Devotional by Paul David Tripp, 2017, pp. 82-82.
People will be lovers of themselves. 2 Timothy 3:2
It’s the inescapable, destructive commitment of every person that was ever born. It marches down a pathway of separation from God and our ultimate doom. None of us successfully avoid it. We see it in others and it bothers us, but somehow we are blind to it in ourselves. It shapes what we think, desire, say, and do. It shapes our unwritten law for the people we live with and a host of unrealistic expectations for the situations we live in. It explains why we are so often irritated and impatient. It describes why some of us are perennially unhappy and some of us trudge through life depressed. It causes us to want what we will never, ever have and to demand what we do not deserve. It puts us at odds with one another and in endless fights with God. It is one of the deep diseases of our sin nature and a core reason for the birth of Jesus.
Paul says that Jesus came so “that those who live might no longer live for themselves” (2 Corinthians 5:14–15). Consider Paul’s three-word description of what sin does to all people: “live for themselves.” That’s what we all do from the first moment of our lives. We all demand to be in the center of our world. We all tend to be too focused on what we want, on what we think we need, and on our feelings. We all want our own way, and we want people to stay out of our way. We all want to be sovereign over our lives and to write our own rules. We demand to be served, indulged, agreed with, accepted, and respected. In our self-centeredness, we convince ourselves that our wants are our needs, and when we do, we judge the love of God and others by their willingness to deliver them. When we are angry, it’s seldom because the people around us have broken God’s law; most often we are angry because people have broken the law of our happiness. Because we live for our happiness, happiness always eludes us — because every fulfilled desire is followed by yet another desire.