Is Enlightened Self-Interest Biblical?

I’m not sure why ‘joy’ is capitalized, but doing it for his joy is certainly not antithetical to nor excluding his love. Why does the suiter bring flowers to his beloved? Because of his love and because it brings him joy, even at possibly great sacrifice. You also contradict the cited passage, and more than just incidentally.

I guess you don’t understand that enlightened self-interest is not selfish nor does it imply selfishness.

So we need to change the words of Jesus to “Do everything in order that you might be rewarded in heaven by God and secure your joy.” Sounds like Muslim legalism to me. .

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Why does a father bring a surprise toy to a loved child? Because he loves them and because of enlightened self-interest. They are not mutually exclusive… he is looking forward to seeing the resulting delight and to share a hug. That’s terrible, right? And so selfish.

Are you denying the cited verse? It sure looks like it. And btw, it does not contradict 1 John 3:16, but you must think so.

Good grief.

It may even have been sacrificial in one way or another – a busy businessman (is that redundant? :slightly_smiling_face:) going out of his way with an inconvenient expense of time to go to a toy store, or a cash-strapped dad making something of a financial sacrifice.

Both motives are Christian and coexist side by side with no conflict.

Because the Bible does? Hebrews 12:2 has been mentioned before, I believe. Naked self-interest without the modifier certainly denotes or at least connotes selfishness, but we were using a participial adjective with it. Please acquaint yourself with the term enlightened self-interest and its relationship to love. They are not mutually exclusive, as I have already demonstrated.

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That wasn’t the scenario, was it. It was my little parable and you don’t get to rewrite it, sorry. But maybe you should reread it and try to understand how love was the motive as well as enlightened self-interest?

One does not diminish the other. In fact, I’m not sure enlightened self-interest is not integral to love and that you cannot truly love without it.

Btw, the scriptural metaphor of running the race to receive a crown and striving to receive a “Well done!” are more examples in the Bible of enlightened self-interest.

The difference is that the Bible is clear that our motive is love for God and there is no such clarity in the concept of self interest. Maybe for you, but you are not the general public.

A parable to be valid must make your point and yours does not, as I pointed out.

The fact is Love is the moral guide for the Christian. If there is no love, then all the enlightened self interest in the world will not make it right.

It is obviously not clear to you, but there is certainly clarity, one.more.time, in Hebrews 12:2.It is quite explicit. And it is also quite clear in the other two things I mentioned, the motivation for running the race and laboring for a “Well done!”

A parable must be understood before anything can be pointed out about it. You failed to understand it, so it is impossible for you to have pointed out anything about it, valid or otherwise.

Once again, your argument flounders and falls as flat as the fish because you do not understand what enlightened-self interest even is. If there is no enlightened self-interest, there is no love.

If you love someone, you desire their well-being. Note the word desire. When the object of your love is doing well, and even if through your motivation of love you have sacrificially contributed to it, your desire is gratified. How selfish.

It is clear that you are blind to adjectives. We are talking about enlightened self-interest, not naked self-interest. The Bible is very clear that it is not incompatible with but complimentary to love and that we are to follow Jesus’ example by clearly looking at him, because there is something that you are not seeing:

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:2

Please see an ophthalmologist at the earliest opportunity, and have someone else drive.

All this about the motivation of enlightened self-interest is not to say that it is something that anyone is necessarily thinking about prior to any given action, and in fact probably not. It is something that is more likely realized in retrospect and upon analysis. Desire is the motivation, and @Relates may be correct about that, that the desire that comes from love may be the more conscious motivation.

But maybe not, too. A first responder or even a passing motorist who stops and springs into action to pull an accident victim from a burning car is acting in love, right? What are they thinking about, their motivation? There may be a quick conscious analysis questioning, “Should I do this or not?”, but they are much more likely thinking about feasibility and not pondering motivation! So in essence their action springs from who they are in their heart, and it is not unloving and callous to another’s need.

I guess you don’t understand Hebrews 12:2 either.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

The future joy of Jesus in Hebrews 12:2 is the anticipation of eternity with his family, iow, us, those whom he rescued and were adopted, if you belong to him.

Recommended reading: Future Grace. It’s about what motivates us.

I would agree that the term “enlightened self-interest” may be rather unfortunate, because those unfamiliar with the way it actually works, like you and @Relates, immediately infer a concentration on self, a self-centeredness. That is certainly understandable, given the term itself.

So if anyone has a suggestion for an alternate way of describing the motivation of “for the joy set before him” besides the one under discussion which is offending, I would certainly entertain it. But also please note, the term would also apply to the ex post facto motivation of the first responder or passing motorist.
As well as applying to the cited verse in Hebrews, said proposed term would also apply to the highly egocentric love previously described:

Maybe ‘the self-gratification of love’ or simply ‘the gratification of love’, or ‘the gratification intrinsic to love’. Remember, it needs to describe the motivation “for the joy set before him” as well as the motivation of the first responder or passing motorist.

@moderators – may we want to split a bunch of these to a new thread since there is a definite subthread here? Nah, since there are so many replies, maybe just leave it since the subthread appears to start all the way back at #14. It should be my mea culpa for not splitting it back then.

If you want to message the moderators with the post #s of what should be split off, I will do it. But I am not going to read 114 posts and organize them for you, because I have other things to do, and I suspect the other moderators do too.

That is exactly why I suggested leaving it. It would be a chore for me, too, and there could be some inherent overlap with the main thread.


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