What's It All About Selfie

Bible Book: 2 Corinthians  5 : 14-15
Subject: Humility; Servant; Pride; Selfishness; Christian Living

What’s it all about, selfie? We live in a day when self is the subject and object of a photo. The Apostle Paul provides a prophetic snapshot of a pathetic scene in 2 Timothy 3:1-9, where he warns about a time when men will be “lovers of themselves” and “without self-control.” So many are self-absorbed and self-assured.  For example, Dr. Robert Holden said, “Your relationship with yourself sets the tone for every other relationship you have.”1 A lot of people pass along such quotes with no idea that Dr. Holden is involved in the New Age Movement.  Your relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ sets the tone for every other relationship you have. Rev. Frederick Whitfield (1829-1904) writes, “One of the most palpable effects of the Fall is that it has led man to live for himself. Sin is essentially selfish, and one of the first effects of redemption is to make man live for others. Real Christianity always takes a man out of himself. Just as the infallible sign of health is, that it never thinks of itself, so the unvarying evidence of real godliness is, that it lives outside itself—it lives first of all for Christ, and then for others for Christ’s sake.

The Christian’s motto should ever be, ‘Ye are not your own: ye are bought with a price.’ Notwithstanding this, he carries about with him a sinful body, which is always craving for indulgence. The Christian's constant danger is lest his Saviour's glory should cease to be paramount to every other consideration. Christ must be first, or He will be nothing. Christ must be first, or the creature cannot possibly be happy. Christ must be first, or the soul will find a want in everything.”2

2 Corinthians 5:14-15 reads, “For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.” 

There are three views of the self-life in 2 Corinthians 5:15.

I. First, there is the self-life and sacrificing.

2 Corinthians 5:14b-15a reads, “. . . if One died for all. . . and He died for all. . . .” I agree with my friend, Dr. Brad Whitt, “All means all and that’s all, all means.” Martin Luther (1483-1546) reportedly asked, “What is it about your own miserable works and doings that you think you could please God more than the sacrifice of His own Son?” 1 Corinthians 13:3b reads, “. . . and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.” The word translated “love” is “agape,” more than just a warm feeling, it is God’s love.  John 3:16 reads, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” 

The life of Christ Jesus is marked by sacrifice.

 Romans 5:8 reads, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  Hebrews 10:12-14 reads, “But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.” 1 John 2:2 reads, “And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.” While there are many martyrs there is only one Messiah, and His name is Jesus!

Dr. James Allan Francis (1864-1928) writes, “Here is a man who was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another obscure village, where He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty, and then for three years He was an itinerant preacher. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never owned a home. He never had a family. He never went to college. He never put his foot inside a big city. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place where He was born. He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but Himself. He had nothing to do with this world except the naked power of His divine manhood. While still a young man, the tide of public opinion turned against Him. His friends ran away. One of them denied Him. He was turned over to His enemies. He went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed to a cross between two thieves. His executioners gambled for the only piece of property He had on earth while He was dying—and that was his coat. When he was dead He was taken down and laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend. Nineteen wide centuries have come and gone and today He is the centerpiece of the human race and the leader of the column of progress. I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, and all the navies that ever were built, and all the parliaments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned, put together have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has that One Solitary Life.”3

The life of Christians is to be marked by sacrifice.

Romans 12:1-2 reads, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Someone explains, “The more we ‘present’ or ‘offer’ our bodies to the Lord, the more it will seem to be ‘reasonable’. It becomes more and more a joyful sacrifice of praise.” Hebrews 13:10-16 reads, “We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat. For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp. Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach. For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come. Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.”

Revelation 2:10a reads, “Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested. . . .”

Dr. Adrian Rogers (1931-2005) explains, “Polycarp was the pastor of the early church in Smyrna. He was asked to renounce his faith in Christ and offer a pinch of incense to Caesar. He refused and said, ‘Eighty and six years have I served Him, and in nothing hath He wronged me; and how, then, can I blaspheme my King, Who saved me?’ When they heard that, they clamored to burn him at the stake. They brought their wood and heaped it around his feet. And then Polycarp prayed, ‘I count it a blessedness to be thought worthy of a place among the martyrs of Jesus Christ.’ And when that fire was kindled around his feet, he was heard singing and praising the Son of God.

Most of us will not die at the stake, be carried to the wall and shot, or be imprisoned for the Lord Jesus Christ. We may not have a chance to die that way, but can we not die to this vile world? Can we not die to our plans and our ambitions? And can we not say that Jesus Christ is Lord?”4 1 Peter 2:21 reads, “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps.”  C. T. Studd (1860-1931), the famous British cricket player turned missionary to China and India, said, “If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.”5

Remember, there is the self-life and sacrificing.

II. Second, there is the self-life and serving.

2 Corinthians 5:15b reads, “. . . those who live. . . for themselves. . . .”

The life of Christ Jesus is marked by service.

Matthew 20:28 reads, “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”  This was the theme verse for the 2010-2011 school year for my alma mater, William Carey University. 

The life of Christians is to be marked by service.

Dr. Adrian Rogers (1931-2005) asks, “Are You Looking For An Easy Way to Serve God?” Hebrews 12:1c reads, “…and run with patience the race that is set before us.” Dr. Rogers explains, “The word ‘patience’ here doesn’t mean the ability to thread a needle, but literally means ‘endurance.’ It means bearing up under some load, some challenge.

Are you looking for an easy way, a cheap way, a lazy way to serve God? All honey and no bees? A life of ease? You just want to say, ‘O, I’m so happy in Jesus.’ Listen, this business of running this race means that you’re going to be at it with all of your heart.

You may be on a sick bed or in a wheelchair. But none is excluded. We are to run with endurance. When you watch someone running, do you notice how intense he is? If you’re in this race, you need to pray over it, you need to weep over it, you need to study over it, you need to work over it.

This matter of being saved and running the race is a full-time occupation. God does business with those who mean business.”6

Leonard Ravenhill (1907-1994) laments, “The early church was married to poverty, prisons, and persecutions. Today, the church is married to prosperity, personality, and popularity.”7 Proverbs 14:12 reads, “There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.” Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe explains, “You don’t get a merry heart by going out and looking for it, because happiness is a by-product of service. The most miserable people I know are those who think only of themselves.  The happiest people I know are those who think of others. Selfishness always smothers happiness.  It’s one of the killjoys of life.  But sacrifice and service open the springs of God’s happiness and flood our hearts with joy.”8

William Secker ( ?-1681) cautions, “Many have passed the rocks of gross sins - who have suffered shipwreck upon the sands of self-righteousness.”9 Romans 10:2-3 reads, “For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.”  C. S. Lewis (1898-1963) states, “The terrible thing, the almost impossible thing, is to hand over your whole self—all your wishes and precautions—to Christ.”10 “George Muller [1805-1898], known for his great faith and ministry to orphans in 19th century England, was asked the secret of his fruitful service for the Lord. He said, ‘There was a day when I died... utterly died.’ As he spoke, he bent lower and lower until he almost touched the floor. I died to George Muller — his opinions, his preferences, his tastes, and his will — died to the approval or blame even of my brethren and friends — and since then I have studied only to show myself approved unto God.”11

Dr. Vance Havner (1901-1986) recounts, “Some missionaries bound for Africa were laughed at by the boat captain who said, ‘You’ll only die over there!’ Replied a missionary: ‘Captain, we died before we started.’”12  Allow me to share what I call, “The Three-fold Desire of a Servant of the Lord:

May my service be under the Lord’s guidance;
May my service be unquestionably the Lord’s gift; and
May my service be unto the Lord’s glory!”
Remember, there is the self-life and suffering and serving.

III. Third, there is the self-life and submitting.

2 Corinthians 5:15b reads, “. . . that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.”

The life of Christ Jesus is marked by submission.

John 5:19 reads, “Then Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.’” John 6:38 reads, “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” John 12:50 reads, “And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak.”

The life of Christians is to be marked by submission.

James 4:7-10 reads, “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” My friend, Rev. Jack Woodard, explains, “Give in to Jesus and you won’t always be giving into temptation.”  Acts 2:36 reads, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”  Acts 10:36 reads, “The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ—He is Lord of all.”

There is the Christian’s submission in the home.

Colossians 3:18 reads, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.” 1 Peter 3:1 reads, “Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives.”

There is the Christian’s submission in the church.

Ephesians 5:15-21 reads, “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God.” Hebrews 13:17 reads, “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.”

There is the Christian’s submission in the nation.

Romans 13:1-7 reads, “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.” 1 Peter 2:13-14 reads, “Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good.” Titus 3:1 reads, “Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work.” 

Sadly, we live in a day when there is little submission in the home, in the church, or in the society. 1 Samuel 15:23b reads, “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.” We are moving dangerously close to the anarchy described in Judges 21:25, “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”    

Remember, there is the self-life and submitting.


Dr. A. W. Tozer (1897-1963) states, “Our only hope is that renewed spiritual pressure will be exerted increasingly by self-effacing and courageous men who desire nothing but the glory of God and the purity of the church. May God send us many of them. They are long overdue.”13

Remember, there is the self-life and sacrificing, serving, and submitting. Major W. Ian Thomas (1914-2007) warns, “There are those who have a life they never live. They have come to Christ and thanked Him only for what He did, but do not live in the power of who He is.”14

Dr. J. Vernon McGee (1904-1988) explains, “We need to recognize that our salvation rests upon what Christ has done for us, and that is a finished work. Someone has expressed it like this:

Upon a life I did not live,
Upon a death I did not die,
Another's life, Another's death,
I stake my whole eternity.
It is finished, yes, indeed;
Finished, every jot!
Sinner, this is all you need!
Tell me, is it not?  Author unknown

We cannot add anything to a finished work. What Christ has done is all we need for salvation.”15 

Remember these things the next time you wonder, “What’s it all about, selfie?”

1Robert Holden, Accessed: 07/15/17  http://www.spiritual-quotes-to-live-by.com/robert-holden-quotes.html .

2Frederick Whitfield, Christ is the Word “The Waste House” (Haggai 1:1-11) (London: James Nisbet, 1870), 93.

3Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations, ed. Suzy Platt, “One Solitary Life,” James Allan Francis (1989), #916. Accessed: 07/15/17 http://www.bartleby.com/73/916.html .

4Adrian Rogers, Love Worth Finding, “Worthy to Die – Living for Jesus” (Revelation 2:10) July 15, 2016 Accessed: 07/25/17 http://www.christianity.com/devotionals/love-worth-finding-adrian-rogers/love-worth-finding-july-15-2016.html .

5Dan Graves, “C. T. Studd Gave Huge Inheritance Away” Accessed: 07/18/17 http://www.christianity.com/church/church-history/timeline/1801-1900/c-t-studd-gave-huge-inheritance-away-11630616.html .

6Adrian Rogers, Love Worth Finding, “Are You Looking for An Easy Way to Serve God?” (Hebrews 12:1) July 20, 2014, Accessed: 07/25/17  http://www.lightsource.com/ministry/love-worth-finding/devotionals/love-worth-finding/love-worth-finding-july-20-2014-11715855.html .

7A Z Quotes, Leonard Ravenhill, Accessed: 07/17/17 http://www.azquotes.com/quote/673538 .

8Warren W. Wiersbe, Turning Mountains Into Molehills (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1987), 59. 

9William Secker, The Nonsuch Professor in His Meridian Splendor: or, The Singular Actions of Sanctified Christians (London: W. Nicholson, 1904), 92.

10C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York, NY: Harper Collins, 2001), 196-198.

11Accessed: 07/18/17 http://www.thetransformedsoul.com/additional-studies/spiritual-life-studies/dying-to-self .

12Accessed: 07/18/17 http://www.thetransformedsoul.com/additional-studies/spiritual-life-studies/dying-to-self .

13A. W. Tozer, Evenings With Tozer: Daily Devotional Readings “Seek God’s Glory and Purity” (John 14:23) July 23 Reading (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2015), 105.

14Major W. Ian Thomas, From the foreword of Classic Christianity by Bob George, Eugene: Harvest House Publishers, 1989.

15J. Vernon McGee, Thru The Bible with J. Vernon McGee (Pasadena, CA: Thru the Bible Radio, 1981). Database © 2013 WORDsearch Corp.


Dr. Franklin L. Kirksey, pastor First Baptist Church of Spanish Fort 30775 Jay Drive Spanish Fort, Alabama 36527

Author of Don’t Miss the Revival! Messages for Revival and Spiritual Awakening from Isaiah and

Sound Biblical Preaching: Giving the Bible a Voice [Both available on Amazon.com in hardcover, paperback and eBook]

http://www.amazon.com/Dont-Miss-Revival-Spiritual-Awakening/dp/1462735428 &  http://www.amazon.com/Sound-Biblical-Preaching-Giving-Bible/dp/1594577684 / fkirksey@bellsouth.net   / (251) 626-6210

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