Is God against birthdays because it causes us to focus on SELF?
NO, God is not against birthdays generally speaking.
Of course, God is against anything that becomes more important to us than He is, but we’ll assume for the sake of this question, we’re just talking about a run-of-the-mill attitude towards a birthday celebration.
If He was against a birthday party because they “focus on self, God would have to be against eating, shaving, dressing, any relaxation or fun, any enjoyment that was not ministry, buying anything for yourself that was not necessity, etc.
Of course God is against SELFISHNESS, and a CONTINUAL FOCUS on “self” (ie. self esteem, self love, self worship, self-centeredness, self-obsession, etc). He is against a self-seeking heart, and a self-centered heart, and a person who has placed the focus on themselves as a rule. But God is not against the blessings or needs that are exercised or enjoyed in the course of a selfless (heart attitude), God-fearing, servant-minded life.
It is the focus of our heart that God sees and judges. What we do on the outside is just an outflowing of what is on the inside. I can enjoy a birthday party, some fun, or buy myself something without being “self centered” or “self focused”. I can rejoice over some blessing that benefits me alone without feeling like I’ve taken my eyes and heart off God, and onto myself.
Of course, we always need to be ON GUARD to make sure our heart has shifted it’s gaze from God to “me”, but this is not the same as saying that every event or enjoyment I have personally is rooted in selfishness.
Here’s a few verses to consider about real “self”-ishness:
Philippians 2:21 For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus. (NKJV)
2 Corinthians 5:15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. (NKJV)
Isaiah 56:11 Yes, they are greedy dogs Which never have enough. And they are shepherds Who cannot understand; They all look to their own way, Every one for his own gain, From his own territory. (NKJV)
Philippians 2:4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. (NKJV)
2 Timothy 3:1-5 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves… …having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! (NKJV)