Self-interest, ugly as it may be, is actually a gift of God. It helps us make our way in this world. Having a healthy sense of self-worth—feeling significant—motivates us to reach toward God’s purpose for our life. It’s rooted in the fact that we truly are valuable.
God showed me this in an unusual way. Next door to us lived a child with Down Syndrome. He functioned at the level of a three-year-old, though he was much older. But his condition allowed him to speak freely from the heart—totally without pretense. Every time I saw this young man, he asked, “Do you love me?” Now we wouldn’t dare express ourselves like this, but isn’t this need at our very core? “Am I significant to you? Am I deserving of your love?” Self-interest—a gift of God? Yes! Because an inconsequential life is tough to bear, and one that is meaningless is practically a death sentence.
From Free from the Power of Sin: the Keys to Growing in God in Spite of Yourself