Sermon quotes on selfishness

Randy Alcorn

Selfish people pursue gain at others’ expense. But God’s riches are infinite. When you serve Him and others, you store up treasures in Heaven. This doesn’t reduce the treasures available to others. Everyone gains; no one loses.

The Treasure Principle, Revised and Updated: Unlocking the Secret of Joyful Giving, Multnomah, 2017.

Augustine of Hippo

If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself.


Augustine of Hippo

Deliver me, O Lord, from that evil man, myself.

Exposition on Psalm 140

Jane Austen

“Selfishness must always be forgiven you know, because there is no hope of a cure.”

Mansfield Park, 1814.

Jane Austen (Mr. Darcy)

“I have been a selfish being all my life, in practice, though not in principle.”

Pride and Prejudice, 1813.

Paul Chappell

Many people live righteously for selfish or misguided reasons. If you are striving to please God, examine your motives today.

Stephen Charnock

When we believe that we ought to be satisfied, rather than God glorified, we set God below ourselves, imagine that He should submit His own honor to our advantage; we make ourselves more glorious than God, as though we were not made for Him, but He made for us; this is to have a very low esteem of the majesty of God.

Quoted in The Complete Works of Stephen Charnock Vol.1, Oxford University Press.

Honore de Balzac

Courtesy is only a thin veneer on the general selfishness.

Letters of Two Brides, Repr. The Floating Press, 2011, p.58.

Alan Fadling

We’re all tempted to come to Jesus for what we want from him, rather than coming to him for mentoring, training and teaching about what he wants our lives to look like.

Taken from An Unhurried Life: Following Jesus’ Rhythms of Work and Rest by Alan Fadling Copyright (c) 2013 by Alan Fadling. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL.

Daniel Fuller

How could we enjoy heaven if during our lifetime we had used most of our time, treasure, and talents for ourselves and our select group?

The Unity of the Bible, Zondervan, 1992, p. 312. 

Jack Hyles

There is nothing in this world so empty as getting what you want.

Samuel Johnson

There will always be a part, and always a very large part of every community, that have no care but for themselves, and whose care for themselves reaches little further than impatience of immediate pain, and eagerness for the nearest good.

Taxation No Tyranny

Timothy Keller

Moralistic behavior change done for one’s self simply manipulates and leverages radical selfishness without challenging it.

Thomas a Kempis

A man is hindered and distracted in proportion as he draws outward things to himself.

Thomas a Kempis

Let this be thy whole Endeavour, this thy prayer, this thy desire, that thou mayest be stripped of all selfishness, and with entire simplicity follow Jesus only.

Thomas a Kempis

Constantly choose rather to want less, than to have more.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.

William Law

What could begin to deny self, if there were not something in man different from self?

C.S. Lewis

That fierce imprisonment in the self is but the obverse of the self-giving which is absolute reality.

C.S. Lewis

At this very moment you and I are either committing [selfishness], or about to commit it, or repenting it.

Martin Luther

If our goods are not available to the community, they are stolen goods.

George Macdonald

One thing is clear to me, that no indulgence of passion destroys the spiritual nature so much as respectable selfishness.

Delphi Complete Works of George MacDonald (Illustrated),  Delphi Classics, p.2664.

Hannah More

Our infinite obligations to God do not fill our hearts half as much as a petty uneasiness of our own; nor His infinite perfections as much as our smallest wants.

Miscellaneous Works: Tragedies. Miscellaneous Poems. Hymns and ballads. Sacred Dramas. Coelebs. Practical Piety. Moriana, 1840, p.719.

Mother Teresa

One of the greatest diseases is to be nobody to anybody.

John Owen

Selfishness is the making a man’s self his own centre, the beginning and end of all he doeth.

Blaise Pascal

All the good maxims which are in the world fail when applied to one’s self.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

It is not because the truth is too difficult to see that we make mistakes… we make mistakes because the easiest and most comfortable course for us is to seek insight where it accords with our emotions – especially selfish ones.

Paul David Tripp

The DNA of sin is selfishness. Sin inserts me into the middle of my universe; the one place reserved for God and God alone. Sin reduces my field of concern down to my wants, my needs, and my feelings. Sin really does make it all about me.

Dangerous Calling, Crossway, 2012, p.98.

Rick Warren

Babies by nature are completely selfish. They think only of themselves and their own needs. They are incapable of giving; they can only receive. That is immature thinking. Unfortunately, many people never grow beyond that kind of thinking.

St. Augustine

Taste and see that the Lord is sweet. He was made sweet to you because he liberated you. You had been bitter to yourself when you were occupied only with yourself. Drink the sweetness.

Sermon on the 33rd Psalm

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Consider checking out our illustrations page on Selfishness. 

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