Breaking the Selfish Cycle

I am a selfish person.

I want things to happen the way I want them to happen and when I want them to happen.

And, if I may be so bold, you are a selfish person, too.

“Looking out for number one” is more than just a cultural phenomenon. Selfishness is rooted deeply in our fallen, sinful nature.

Even as a follower of Christ, I exhibit self-centered tendencies daily.

I struggle with this “Selfish Cycle”:

  1. I act selfishly.
  2. I realize I have been selfish and regret it.
  3. I put myself down for being selfish.
  4. I try to make up for being selfish by doing something good.
  5. I am proud of myself for the good things I have done.
  6. I realize that I am being prideful.
  7. Repeat from step 2.

Sound familiar?

Two main problems get me caught in this cycle. First, I do not repent. Step 3 may look like repentance, but it is still really just focused on myself. Second, I foolishly try to “make up” for what I have done instead of relying on God’s grace to set me free.

In our own strength, we may get caught in this vicious cycle of self-righteousness and self-loathing for days, weeks, or longer.

Fortunately for Christ followers, there is a simple way to break the cycle of self-centeredness:

A. I act selfishly.

B. I realize I have been selfish and regret it.

C. I repent of my selfishness and praise Jesus for being willing to take my punishment for me.

After we repent from our selfish behavior, relying on God’s grace and forgiveness, we are truly free to serve others without pride or fear getting in the way.

Little by little, each time I deny myself and repent from selfishness, I become more like Christ.


Amanda-Grace Schultz holds a master’s degree in theology from Campbellsville University and is passionate about missions education and discipleship.







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