4 ways to be selfless


 I’m starting a 3-part love series in honour of this Valentine’s season! I’m going to look at different ways we can do better in loving others. Today, I’m challenging the popular notion that encourages us to always “put ourselves first”. I’ve noticed recently that a lot of what society uses as words of empowerment are actually contrary to what Jesus teaches. We find a lot of mainstream media and Instagram quotes talking about ‘putting yourself first’. I do believe there is merit to having time for ourselves and making decisions that are in our best interest. However, the ‘put yourself first’ movement does have some negative connotations which I’d like to present an alternative for in this post –selflessness.

A few verses in the bible point towards the best way to order our lives: God first, others second, yourself last (Matt 6:33, Philippians 2:3-4, Matt 22:36-40). I even heard that’s the hidden meaning of JOY– JESUS first, OTHERS second, YOURSELF last (neat yh?). As humans, we are naturally inclined to be selfish; we want to have the biggest piece of cake, be first in line or have the best seats on the bus. Science even reinforces this by attributing our innate selfishness to survival instincts beneficial for natural selection. I think it’s time to reorient our lives to prioritize being of service rather than being served, and valuing others above ourselves (Matthew 20:28, Philippians 2:3).

If we seek to walk in righteousness and live as Jesus lived, we need to be willing to sacrifice our comfort. True love, like Jesus demonstrates, is Sacrificial love. The words ‘Sacrificial love’ may suggest grand gestures like giving your life for someone, but I believe the smaller things matter just as much. In my recent conversations with God, I have been seeking a change of heart to learn to love others as Jesus loved. I’m going to share a few things God has been teaching me on how to be selfless:


We can’t really be of help to others is we are not grounded in our faith. God calls us His beloved, the light of the world, a royal priesthood, the redeemed. A lot of times we just here this but we don’t quite fully accept it. It is so important to understand and embody our identity in Christ, because it’ll lead to spiritual maturity which will, in turn, make us more inclined to live a life that’s pleasing to God. Jesus made it clear as well that if we decide to follow him, our interests should become his (Matthew 16:24-26, 6:33). His interests are in caring for others, therefore ours should be too.


Compassion and Empathy are both forms of reaction to the suffering of others. Nevertheless, they are different in that empathy says “I feel your suffering” whereas compassion says “I want to relieve your suffering”.  I believe they are both largely significant. Putting yourself in someone’s shoes and feeling their pain is a sign of love but the challenge is to take it a step further and do something about it; that’s compassion. [relevant read: Matthew 9:35-38]


I’m guilty of sometimes clinging to my own preconceived notions about a person or situation. This creates a barrier to showing love towards others. I believe we can’t truly be empathetic if we are not open-minded and genuinely interested in learning about others. Rather than having satisfaction in being oblivious of the plight of others, we should seek a genuine response when we ask “how are you?” and broaden our knowledge of what’s happening to others around us, far and near.


After grounding ourselves in Christ, learning about compassion, and seeking to be more understanding of others, what’s left is to put it all into practice by developing a mindset of servanthood. Being selfless is not esteeming our comfort above the welfare of others. We serve others practically by sacrificing our time, energy and resources for the good of others (“…remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”- Acts 20:30).  So even though sometimes you’d rather lounge at home with Netflix, I hope you choose to explore selflessness; whether it’s by helping a friend, volunteering in the community or serving at church.



“3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” (Phillipians 2:3)


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  1. February 14, 2018 / 8:47 am

    Hello ,

    I saw your tweets and thought I will check your website. Have to say it looks very good!

    Jan Zac

    • explorewithola
      February 15, 2018 / 11:34 pm

      Thank you so much for stopping by Jan, I’ve also responded to your other inquiries by email 🙂

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