Listening to television can be difficult, especially during commercials because I don't hear very well and there's often considerable background 'noise' and rapid scene changes. Recently, while watching a commercial it seemed the product was being advertised as "egofriendly" and I thought to myself, "Now, that's an interesting gimmick. Just go straight to the heart of the matter and cater to our selfish human nature." Catering to our earthly nature can be a problem because we can't do that and please God (Romans 8:5-8; 6:1-5; Galatians 5:24, 25). Now I don't recall the advertisement promoting sin, but that thought did enter my mind.
By now, you probably realize (like I eventually did) that the product in the TV commercial was being marketed at "ecofriendly." Ecofriendly is the opposite of egofriendly in that the focus is on our surroundings — the things and people around us rather than concentrating on ourselves. True ecofriendliness is a matter of sound judgment and is actually egofriendly because when we pay attention to those around us, looking out for their interests, our interests also will usually be fulfilled (Proverbs 18:1; James 3:13-18).
For example, when we drive more fuel-efficient cars, the air is cleaner for everyone to breathe, but who is usually closest to that car when it is at a standstill, breathing its exhaust fumes? Its owner. What happens when a business owner does the best he can for his employees, and sets the example of a strong work ethic for them? Generally, the employees will be more productive.
Some people use others merely for their own advantage and when that's realized, things don't often work out well for the user (Jude 1:16; Deuteronomy 24:15, 16; 15:9; Romans 2:8). Those who appeal merely to our earthly nature through whatever means, like TV or worship experience, are egofriendly, looking only to satisfy themselves by flattering others, but they're not ecofriendly in looking out for the needs of those around them (2 Peter 2:17-19; 1 Timothy 6:3-5; 2 Corinthians 11:13-15; Jude 1:17-19; 2 Timothy 4:3, 4).
We should look not only to our own interests, but also to the interests of others (Philippians 2:1-5). Contrary to popular belief, Christians are not to deny themselves to their own detriment. Rather, we are to take care of ourselves in a way that helps us to take care of others. For example, if you've ridden on a commercial airplane lately, you've been told if an emergency arises to put on your own oxygen mask before helping anyone else with theirs. The thought is to save yourself so you can save others.
For Christians, it is impossible to save ourselves without living in such a way that would lead others to Christ (1 Peter 2:11, 12; 3:15, 16; 1 Timothy 4:16). We have to be ecofriendly to be egofriendly.
We need to be careful what we're enticed by and what thoughts enter our minds because out thoughts may eventually come out in our actions (James 1:13-15).
Leonard Lauriault is a member of the Church of Christ in Logan. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org