WIIFM“So what’s in it for me?”  is an oft-repeated phrase, becoming part of our social fabric where most people “look out for #1” to the exclusion of everyone else. Yet, the Bible exhorts us to lay down our lives for others. (Phil. 2: 1-5)  In light of this, have you ever wondered if it’s always wrong to want to know how a particular activity might affect you, before you participate?  Scripture admonishes us to “put off the old self, which is being corrupted by it’s deceitful desires, to be renewed in the attitude of our minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness”? (Ephesians 4: 22-23)  But doesn’t Scripture also say we are to “love our neighbor, as we love ourselves.”  

The notion of considering personal benefit may at first appear to be in total contrast to the sacrificial life espoused in Scripture. (After all, Jesus gave up His life and then urged us to follow His example by taking up our cross. Right?) But before dismissing the notion out-of-hand, we must remember that the Scriptures also say that it was “for the joy set before Him” that Jesus “endured the Cross, despising it’s shame.” There was a benefit (joy) that served to motivate our Lord to finish His mission. This sense of balanced tension seems to be what Jesus meant when He said that “whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for Me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?” (emphasis added)

It appears to be possible to be both self-sacrificing and self-preserving at the same time, provided our approach is Christ-centered and faith-supported.  Then the benefits (saving your life, eternal joy, resurrected body, etc.) are biblically-based, and accompanied by godly maturity.  Biblical ‘self-seeking’ results in value-added benefits for both this world and the next.  Paul summed it up by saying, “Godliness (maturity) has value (benefit) for all things,holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” 

Here are some of the promised benefits (blessings) that accompany godly maturity:

•An increasing capacity to experience God, and enjoy His presence.  (Heb. 12:14, Ezek. 44: 10-16, 28; Psa. 27: 4)

•An increasing capacity to love others and experience their love in return.  (I Cor. 13)

•An increasing capacity to discern the will, purposes, and wisdom of God.  (I Cor. 2)

• An increasing capacity to escape the corruption of the world and the schemes of the devil.  (Rom. 12, Titus 3, II Cor. 2:11, Eph. 4: 14-15)

•An increasing capacity to be good parents. (Ps. 127)

•An increasing capacity to enter into heaven with rewards and glory.

(II Pet. 1: 5-11; I Cor. 3: 11-15)

•An increasing capacity for no regret at the Return of Christ.  (I Cor. 3: 11-15; I Jn. 2: 28-29)

•An increasing capacity for effective evangelism that glorifies God.  (John 17: Phil 2: 12-16, I Pet. 3: 15-16)

• An increasing capacity to endure trouble and take hold of the enabling grace of God.  (Rom. 5: 1-11; Jas. 1: 2-5)

•An increasing capacity to control our speech, thus decreasing relational conflict.  (Jam. 3: 13-4: 3)

These are just a few of the benefits that we inherit as we take hold of godly maturity.  In actuality, the blessings are far beyond our understanding!  (I Cor. 2:9, Isa. 64:4)