'Christ in You...'
by Dale Krebbs
How many times have we used the word “self” within the last twenty four hours? It is so pervasive that most cannot remember using it at all. And rather than proving that we have not used it, this only shows how all-pervasive it really is! Words that are used regularly, especially as regular as this one, become embedded so deeply into our psyche that they become automatic - we do not have to try to use them - they are just US. No other word perhaps, so small, speaks so much! This little word, along with all of its extensions and modifications (myself, yourself, its self, etc.) is universal. Everyone is interested in “Self”. And no one understands this better then the advertising industry. In advertising, perception is everything - and everything is the Self!
Then there is the inclusion of the word into psychology with “self-centered”, self-confidence, self-effacing, self-sacrificing, self-righteousness, etc., along with that most popular one of all - “Self-esteem”!
There are some who seem quiet reticent and timid until they are asked, or given the opportunity, to talk about them-SELVES. Suddenly they come alive with lively and even animated words and conversation. Many marriages suffer and some are destroyed as the result of the phrase “all you do is talk about YOU, but now I want to talk about ME...” from a popular melody a few years ago.
So, we might ask, what is wrong with “Self”? In another four-letter word: MUCH!
The overarching problem with “self” is its total capacity for DECEPTION...not just of others, but of SELF ITSELF! Self-deception is perhaps the greatest problem with the philosophy surrounding the emphasis on “self-esteem” as a solution for many interpersonal and intra-personal issues. In most cases preoccupation with self is the problem to begin with, which visa vie validates the ability that self has to deceive itself. The nature of self is at the root of God’s warnings and instructions to His people from the very beginning. Much of the Book of Proverbs is addressing the proclivity of the self in all of us to be SELF-DECEIVED (Proverbs 14:12; 16:25).
Certainly not all REFERENCES to ourselves is sin or even wrong. We MUST do so even to communicate. And it is in the “must” that Satan can work his deceptions, and lead us into subtle self-deception. He knows very well that we MUST...and so it is fertile ground for every imaginable evil influence. This the reason we must NOT be ignorant of his devices! Self-deception is a law of our fallen nature! How much of our MOTIVES for everything we do, say, and think is anchored in self-deception? We can determine this by HONESTLY asking ourselves WHY?!
WHY are we doing what we are doing? WHY are we saying what we are saying? WHY am I praying? (No, REALLY- why!!) WHY are we planning what we are planning?
WHY?...The answer is somewhere DEEP DOWN in the workings of the self!
Even in our must heartfelt (seemingly to us) prayers, our most sincere worship, there is, if we look deeply the law of self at play. Selfish motive, self-seeking. I (pardon the reference to my-self) have been dismayed of late to discover that much of my prayers are so incredibly self motivated. Then I asked “myself” am I REALLY interested in that person’s welfare, blessing, deliverance, salvation? So often I could answer Yes - but...And then did I REALLY want this or that ONLY for CHRIST’S GLORY? Well, yes - but...So often, I am afraid, I have failed in surrendering all to Him...! There is some comfort of the Holy Spirit in realizing that many others noted in God’s Word struggled with the self - from Abraham to the Apostle Paul.
It will always be this way. Indeed, God has planned it this way...
There is no total victory now for us over this law of self. EVERYTHING in life is tinged and tainted with the subtle influence of the motive of self-interest. The deeper we look into ourselves, the more we will see - the more we see the more we will be humbled into confession and repentance - then the more we will comprehend how much we are being forgiven - and then the more will love Him - and the more we will praise Him for filling us with more of HIS SELF.
But there is the time coming when the final victory over self will be made known, because it has already been won...by the One who was SELFLESS. Until that time, His selflessness is imputed to us. Then His selflessness will be eternally IMPLANTED in us.
The “Law of Self” in us will have become the Law of Christ in us...
Dear Father, according to your will may it be so!...Amen
“So I find it to be a law (rule of action of my being) that when I want to do what is right and good, evil is ever present with me and I am subject to its insistent demands. For I endorse and delight in the Law of God in my inmost self [with my new nature].But I discern in my bodily members in the sensitive appetites and wills of the flesh] a different law (rule of action) at war against the law of my mind (my reason) and making me a prisoner to the law of sin that dwells in my bodily organs [in the sensitive appetites and wills of the flesh].O unhappy and pitiable and wretched man that I am! Who will release and deliver me from [the shackles of] this body of death? O thank God! [He will!] through Jesus Christ (the Anointed One) our Lord! So then indeed I, of myself with the mind and heart, serve the Law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin“. - Romans 7:21-25
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