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Self-Centeredness, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
October 24, 2022 9:00 am

Self-Centeredness, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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October 24, 2022 9:00 am

Our natural tendency is to focus on our own needs and desires above all else. But for a relationship to work—whether it’s a marriage, friendship, or family—we need to learn selfless love.

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Today on Summit Life, Pastor J.E. Greer urges husbands and wives to love like Jesus loved. You're like, well, he doesn't deserve it. Exactly. Fulfilling your husband sexually when he doesn't deserve it means that you love your husband the way that Jesus loves you.

If God only responded to your prayers when you deserved it, would he ever answer them? Welcome back to another week of teaching here on Summit Life with Pastor J.D. Greer of the Summit Church in Raleigh, North Carolina.

As always, I'm your host, Molly Vidovitch. You know, whenever I look at group photos, I automatically search for myself first just to make sure that I do look good. Don't tell me you don't do the same thing. You see, we naturally focus on ourselves first. Nobody had to teach us that. But for a relationship to work, and whether it's marriage or friendship or family, we need to love the other person like Jesus loved us.

And that's unconditionally and first. Today, Pastor J.D. Greer is continuing our teaching series called Home Wreckers.

If you missed any of the previous messages, you can hear them at Now let's complete the message that we started last week that Pastor J.D. titled Self-Centeredness. Self-centeredness. The idea that you need to look out for yourself. That you need to think first and foremost about your needs and what you need, what you deserve.

Because if you don't look out for your interests and your needs, then who's going to? Well, I'm going to try to show you that while it may come instinctively to you, it kills a marriage. One of the books I was reading said that self-centeredness might be the foundational problem in most, if not every, marriage.

It certainly has been in mine. Because there's something that Jesus taught that you're going to see, and what he said, it's more blessed to give than to receive. But the law of the universe may be survival to fit us, but the law of God is that others first, by giving to others and by pouring yourself out for others, that's where you gain joy. You see, that's the second thing that has taught me broken the streak of self-centeredness or begun to, and that is the gospel, which is what we're going to look at more deeply today. I want to try to show you how the gospel cures self-centeredness, all right?

There's a little phrase I'm going to start teaching you that if you take notes, I'd encourage you to write down. It is this, in Christ, you can give up all you have because in Christ, you have everything you need. And when I have my mind around how great is the grace that God has shown me, then forgiving my wife becomes actually very easy to me because I realize how much I've been forgiven of. Sinner first, first sinner, second sent against. Let me give you a variation of that phrase that I think Paul's going after here. First served, second servant. First served, second servants. Give you a really good definition of Christian marriage, I think.

Here we go. Christian marriage, recognizing the unmerited favor God has shown to you in Christ and showing that same type of unmerited favor to your spouse. Let me say that again. Christian marriage is recognizing the unmerited favor that God has shown to you in Christ and showing that same type of unmerited favor to your spouse. You say, well, my spouse doesn't deserve my service. Of course they don't.

That's the point. You didn't deserve it from Christ either. The world says you change through punishment. God says you change through unmerited favor. The way that God changed you becomes the very way that you begin to serve and change your spouse. Man, it's exactly what Paul meant when he said that you wash your wives with the water of the word, is you wash them with forgiveness because that is what makes them clean in God's sight.

Do you understand what I mean by that? So what does this look like in action? What's this actually look like in action in marriage? How do we, verse four, look not only to our own interests but also to the interests of others in marriage? I'm going to give you three things that I believe we serve one another in in marriage. They are, number one, the roles that we play with each other. Then secondly, I'm going to talk about how we love one another on their terms.

And then third, I'm going to talk about sex. We serve our spouse, number one, in playing the role that God has given us to play in marriage. We serve our spouse by playing the role that God has given us to play in marriage. Husbands and wives are given roles in marriage that are supposed to serve one another. Two words to remember.

Ready? Husbands serve. Wives submit. It is a mutually serving relationship. Let's do the guys first, okay? Dudes, love your wives like Christ loved the church, which means you serve them like Christ served the church.

C.S. Lewis said that the crown that men wear in a relationship is first and foremost a crown of thorns. Let me make this really practical for you guys. My wife is supposed to submit to me, yes, but my leadership of her is supposed to be service to her, which means that I need to lose about 90% of the fights that we have, which I do, okay?

And guys, I'll tell you this. I make it much easier for her to follow me in that 10% if she sees me serving her in the other 90%. So it's not license to do what you want to do. It's empowerment to do what you ought to do. Now some of you say, well, I just don't agree with that. Well, humbly speaking, you need to decide who is Lord in your life. If your attitude toward the Bible is that you take the parts of the Bible that you like and you leave the parts that you don't, then you might really need to consider who is really in charge. For some of you, your problem in this has less to do with submitting a marriage and more to do with submitting to Jesus, which is why you feel the freedom to take the parts of his word that you like and discard the parts that you don't.

If that's your attitude toward the Bible, then Jesus might be your advisor, but he is certainly not your Lord. You say, well, why can't we work on the principle of consensus? Yes, of course, guys, you should work on the principle of consensus. If you make decisions without the full counsel of your wife, then you are a moron. Rarely do I go against my wife's counsel.

It is only when I feel restrained by conscience or conviction that I go against her. But girls, it is not submission when you only follow him when you're in full agreement. That's not submission, that's agreement. Submission implies disagreement. Some of you are like, well, my domination in the home totally works for us.

We've got a system, don't mess with it. No, it does not. You might think that it does, but you don't understand the damage it does to a child when they have a daddy who is not leading. Because they get one picture of the fatherhood of God in their parents, and only boys can be daddies. And their view of God is going to be formed by watching a dad, and a dad who is not leading and protecting the family is a dad who gives them a distorted view of God.

It is always better to obey the word of God. Some of you, this would be so good for your family. And I realize it's not as easy as I'm making it sound, but some of you, this is the way that you begin to serve each other. Guys, you serve. Women, submit.

Here's number two. By learning to love our spouse in their way. By learning to love our spouse in their way. Let me state the really obvious here for a minute, okay? Guys and girls are different, right?

Really different. In fact, this is always, for you newlyweds, the humor that us older married people have at your wedding. Because we're watching you guys up there gush at each other. I'm like, huh, how sweet, and naive. How sweet, though, as they're doing this.

Because that first year of marriage, you realize, you're like, wait a minute. This is not like a female version of me. It's not like a long-haired version of me. And that's intentional. The Hebrew word, one of my favorite Hebrew words that was used to describe the creation of the woman was edzer kenegdo. That's what the woman's first name was. Isn't that a romantic sounding word?

My little edzer kenegdo? What it means is same but different. I know that's like a contradiction, but it means it's the same, but there are differences. God created those differences. Now, a lot of those differences have been overdone in our society, but there are still differences. But there is a principle here that I want you to learn because God created you differently on purpose. The two of you were not exactly the same because if the two of you were exactly the same, then one of you would be unnecessary. So God created you differently because he intends you to love differently. It's one of the reasons that God had male and female get married is because male with male would be loving across the similarities, whereas male and female is loving differently. So what you learn to do is you begin to not despise the differences and mock the differences, but you begin to love across the differences. Again, a lot of these distinctions are overdone and culturally defined, so you don't put that much weight on them. But there's been a number of books that have been written that have been helpful for me in understanding my own marriage, which I would commend to you cautiously because there's some pitfalls in them. Brad Hambrick, our pastoral counselor here, told me that whenever he reads these books about the differences between men and women, he says, I feel like I usually end up sounding like the woman.

So it's not that they never cross over. It's just that there are some vague generalities. One of them I read years ago called His Needs, Her Needs. It talks about when a woman comes into a marriage, she has five major ways that she understands love. The first one is affection, tenderness. The second one, conversation.

Conversation. I remember him saying in that book that you should shoot for 15 hours of conversation a week, which I thought was a little on the aggressive side, but you at least get the point that there's something that she loves to have, which is usually the last thing a guy's thinking about after, you know, he's come home from work is having a 45-minute conversation with his wife. Which, by the way, guys, that's the point. That's how you are serving her. The point is not what you feel like. The point is you are serving her and you know that this is a big deal for her.

Here's a good question for you guys to ask yourself. What is it that you do every day that costs you something in your relationship? Because if you're not doing anything in your marriage that is costing you anything, then you're not really serving her. This is not supposed to be about what you feel like and what you want the marriage to be. It's about serving her. And he says you got affection, then you got conversation.

The third thing he said for a girl was she needs to be able to trust him, to know that he keeps his promises, he does what he says he'll do, then financial security, and then familial security, which is knowing that he's a good dad. I feel like one of the biggest aphrodisiacs in my house is me reading to my kids, which is why, guys, I'm an expert on kids books. You can ask me anything. I can tell you all about them.

All right, I know Clifford and I know the big red dog. I know all those things because because it's just something that's very attractive to her. Well, what Harley does is he begins to show you five things that the man usually brings to and as expectations into a marriage.

He says, first of all, you know, not surprisingly, sex. Sex. And by the way, sometimes this is different in a marriage. There's some times that the girl's a lot into this more than the guy is. That's not weird.

So I'm speaking in generalities. Recreational companionship. Somebody just enjoys being with him and playing with him. Attractive.

She needs to be attractive. Domestic support. They have peace and quiet in the home and then respect and admiration. There's been other books about love languages. Emerson Eggerich wrote a book called Love and Respect talking about how women and men both tend to gravitate and appreciate love and respect differently. These are all books that I would commend to you cautiously, but my point here, the bigger point that I'm trying to make with you is that serving them means learning to make them feel love on their terms. Some of the best marriage advice I got was from a guy who told me that I needed to become a student of my spouse.

I needed to learn what turned her on. I needed to learn how she felt love and I needed to love her not on my terms but on hers. That's a servant attitude toward love. The point is not you loving her on your terms. The point is loving her in her terms. Self-centeredness doesn't mean that you don't love.

Self-centeredness means you love on your terms and you don't serve them and how they understand and feel love. We'll return to our teaching in just a moment, but I wanted to take a moment to personally invite you to become a regular monthly giver that we call a gospel partner. We believe the gospel is the welcoming message of the power of God, not just once but always every single day. God isn't just something that we add on to our week like the cherry on top of an already good life.

He is our life. God wants to partner with us and lead us and direct us through the power of his gospel message. We take this seriously and we invite listeners to partner with us financially with a regular monthly gift. And it's not that we are worried about money. We know that God will provide, but we want to give you the opportunity to join us in our mission to use the resources that God has given you to bring the gospel to your community as well as to the nations.

Give us a call at 866-335-5220 or sign up to be a monthly gospel partner at That's us number two is loving them on their terms. Here's number three, the one you've been waiting on. All right, number three, by considering their sexual needs more significant than yours. By considering their sexual needs to be more significant than yours.

It means you have a servant attitude in the bedroom. One of the best passages on this is in another one of Paul's letters, the letter to the Corinthian. So if you're quick with your Bible, you can keep your finger there in Philippians 2, but go over to First Corinthians chapter 7.

First Corinthians chapter 7. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Girls, you're in the grocery store and he pinches your rear end and you say stop that, don't touch my rear end.

He's got a verse. He says that's not your rear end, that's my rear end and I'll pinch it if I want to. Girl says to a guy shave between your eyebrows. He says why? She says because that's my forehead and I want two eyebrows on my forehead. She says quit dressing like a homeless guy when we go out. He says why?

This is what I feel comfortable in. She says because I don't want my body dressed like a homeless guy. She says I want to snuggle. The guy says why? Let's just have sex and then watch Sports Center.

Better yet let's have sex while we watch Sports Center. She says nope I have authority over that body so bring it over here. In marriage I consider my body to be under the authority of my wife's sexual desires. All Paul is doing here is applying the Philippians 2 servanthood principle to sex. He is taking that principle of foot washing and he's bringing it into the bedroom.

All right here we go. Girls a servant-like attitude towards sex means that sex is not a reward for when he's earned it and it's not a tool that you use to manipulate him to be what you want him to be. You say but I just don't want to do it as much as he wants to do it. Do you see conditionality in this verse? By the way if you are going to send me an email then you need to include in it a better explanation for this verse than the one I'm giving you.

Don't send me an email that basically just amounts to saying I just don't agree with the word of God because that's a very short conversation. I'm like well I do agree with the word of God. I don't see conditionality in that verse. You're like well he doesn't deserve it.

Exactly. Fulfilling your husband sexually when he doesn't deserve it means that you love your husband the way that Jesus loves you. If God only responded to your prayers when you deserved it would he ever answer them? One of the reasons that God had you marry a disappointing jerk was because he wanted to teach you to love like him. Girl says well then that's all we'll do all the time. Guys be reasonable. All right do not download this sermon and play it every night before you guys go to bed. Some of you guys have been inspired to memorize your first verse.

I realize that. If your wife has different sexual desires then one of the ways that you serve her is by taking that into account. You love her like Christ loved the church which means that she's not your toy and that when you demand that she have sex with you on your schedule or when she's tired or when you've been a jerk all day or when you're fighting means that you are not loving her like Christ loved the church. That means if you were always trying to touch her body without having made a conscious effort to touch her heart and her soul then you are not serving her you are using her to meet your sexual needs rather than serving her and hers. The point you are to both have a servant attitude during sex. Verse five do not deprive one another except perhaps by agreement for a limited time that you may devote yourselves to prayer but then come together again so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

Do not deprive each other. If you do it should only be for a really short time and there ought to be a lot of prayer involved. By the way it doesn't mean girl when he comes into the bedroom you drop down your knees and start praying be like I'm in the safe zone I'm in the safe zone that's not what it's talking about.

It's talking about a pre-ordained time of prayer that you said a prayer and fasting. The simple explanation of that verse is that if you're married you should be having sex often. How many times is often?

I don't know but enough to qualify as often. Like what if my spouse wants to have sex and for whatever reason I just can't handle it right now? Counselor told me one time something I thought was really helpful I'll pass on to you he called it the 24-hour rule and that is if you turn down your spouse for sex that within 24 hours you ought to go back and fulfill that request. If you are not having sex with your spouse often you are depriving them and you are in direct disobedience to this verse. So go home and have sex for the glory of Jesus okay if you're married.

If you're not married you cannot have sex for the glory of Jesus okay. Bottom line is it's not what about what you feel like it's about serving them. If you start listen if you started to serve each other this way it would be all together different I promise.

It's almost like me with vacation remember I told you that at the beginning how I didn't enjoy vacations when I thought they were all about me. It's the same way with sex if some of you would get out of your mind that it's all about you and you would begin to serve in the bedroom you would find so much more enjoyment because that's just how God designed it. It's more blessed to give than to receive. Gary Thomas wrote a great book called Sacred Marriage in which he says quote, developing and fulfilling sex life means I concern myself more with bringing generosity and service into the bedroom than with bringing washboard abdomens into bed.

That means that I see my wife as a holy temple of God not just a tantalizing human body. Now some of you hear this you're like but what if they just won't do it. What if they just say no well they were here today and they've heard this message but they just say no.

Be patient. Serve them by being patient with them by forgiving them. Leave that between them and God and let God deal with them. You keep loving them and serving them and washing their feet in this even when they don't deserve it.

I don't mean to gloss over this as if it's not a complex issue because for many of you it is. You ought to get some counseling and you ought to be the guy who leads in the one who leads in getting counseling and not make your wife drag you to counseling. That's part of being a spiritual leader is you recognize when the relationship is sick and you bring and you get some counseling so that we can work through this because God has beauty for your marriage but the marriage the beauty of marriage starts with you thinking less and less about yourself and starting to think more about serving that other person. So I've given you three ways you can apply Philippians to serving one another in marriage and the roles we play in marriage and how we express love to our spouse. Number three in offering ourselves up sexually to them.

There are certainly others in fact we'll do another one next week but I think this is a good place to start. Listen I love you guys. That's why I talk about it. This is more uncomfortable for me than it is for you.

Maybe not but you know but at least I don't enjoy talking about this kind of stuff. This does not grow our church. In fact if anything there'll be less people come to our church because of the sermon. So this is not something I but this is so central that you learn to apply the gospel in this relationship which is why I'll end exactly where I started this message. What is it that gives you the strength and the freedom to live this way? It's only in Christ. Most of us can't serve our spouse or anybody because we're depending on them for so much.

We need so much useless glory from them to fill up some deep need that we have in our life. Only in Christ can you be released from your need for approval and useless glory and recognition. Only in Christ are you given the fullness and security to take your eyes off yourself to begin to serve. In Christ I can give up all that I have because in Christ I have all that I need.

Is it time? Do you need to change your focus and look at the needs around you instead? That's serving like Jesus and that's the goal. You're listening to Summit Life with pastor and author J.D.

Greer. To hear today's message again or any of the previous messages in this study visit So J.D., we're often inviting our listeners to become gospel partners and we even mentioned it a few minutes ago. Can you tell us a little bit more about what that entails?

Yeah, great question. A gospel partner is somebody who believes in the mission that we've embraced here at Summit Life to bring Bible-based gospel-rich teaching to every corner of the world. And then that person because they believe in it and because they don't want to just receive but they want to be a part of giving. They commit to give regular monthly support here to Summit Life that enables us to be on the air and enables us to go in especially some of these places where it's less Christian and so it's more expensive in a way to be on the air but you have a lot more exposure to the people that need to hear this kind of stuff. Your giving makes it possible for us to do that. So in a sense Summit Life is your ministry. It's not just ours that you're giving to and supporting but it becomes yours and what an honor to be able to link arms with you and to put not just our finances and our talents together but to put our hearts together, our faith together and to believe God for great things. I think one of the greatest honors I have is that gospel partner community that I feel like we link arms with. We join our faith together and we say let's see the gospel transform our cities and our nation and in our world.

So it's about the Great Commission. We'd love you to be a part of that so you can learn more about the advantages of becoming a monthly partner, some of the special things we do, some of the promos we extend to them and how we like to begin a relationship with you for the long haul. Just go to and you can find out more. When you sign up for an ongoing monthly gift of $35 or more you become part of our gospel partner family and for your first gift as a partner we'll send you a box of 20 inspirational greeting cards to help you encourage some of the people in your life.

We thank the Lord continually for our faithful partners because we truly couldn't do this without you. As always you can give us a call at 866-335-5220. That's 866-335-5220 or visit for more information. I'm Molly Venovich inviting you to join us tomorrow when we dig into a hot topic in today's society, the justice of God and how it's meant to free us up to forgive others. You won't want to miss Tuesday on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by J.D. Greer Ministries.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-11-13 12:01:21 / 2022-11-13 12:12:48 / 11

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