“For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus.”
Now we turn from a glowing tribute to a terrific indictment. Paul knew of no one who cared for people like Timothy. He was others oriented, not focused on self-interests. But evidently, the church at Rome was living in a “me generation.”
“for all seek their own”
Years before his Roman imprisonment, Paul wrote: “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world” (Ro. 1:8). At one time, the Roman church was interested in others. They had a reputation for sharing their faith. Now they could care less. They had lost their passion for others.
There was no one else that Paul could send to Philippi other than Timothy because everyone else was seeking his own interests. If Paul were to try to send someone else on that long, hazardous journey, that person would have said, “What do I get out of this? Are there any risks to me personally? What are the wages? What are the conditions?” They all sought their own. Their interest was not Jesus’; it was their own.
They probably would have had an interest “if it were convenient,” only as it involved their spare time. “If it does not cost anything, I will do it.” This is Christianity as a sideline. It is not Christianity at the core.
Most people are interested in themselves, their advancement, their concerns.
“And do you seek great things for yourself? Do not seek them” (Jer. 45:5).
“not the things which are of Christ Jesus”
This phrase means to put spiritual things first. If we put God first, He will provide:
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matt. 6:33).
Selfishness preempts spiritual priority.
To put the priority on Jesus Christ is the essence of Christianity. Jesus Christ must come before our wives or husbands and children. Jesus Christ must come before our relationships and our jobs. This idea eliminates almost all Christians in the twenty-first century. No wonder Christians have such a difficult time living the Christian life! We try to live it the hard way: “All seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus.” This is selfishness, one of the greatest obstructions to the Christian life. To put self first is to dethrone Christ:
“If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Matthew 16:24).
How many of us are so dedicated to the person of Christ as to place Him before ourselves?