We live in a world where self is god, and our feelings are first. At times, it seems everyone is consumed with self. Their health, appearance, clothes, hair, and so on. People mostly resist correction, spiritual direction, and no one likes it when it is pointed out that they are wrong. Crossing someone’s will can bring deep conflict. We are honestly a people that appears to be consumed with self. It is accepted and it is normal.
Lately it seems the Lord is reminding me of a verse I learned in College at North Central. “I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me, and the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and raised himself for me.” Galatians 2.20
Here is the problem and sickness I deal with. It is the sickness of self. It is the opposite of dying for Christ and letting your flesh stay in the grave, and being risen in newness of Jesus. Denying self is not necessary in our society because everyone seems to be so narcissistic, being intoxicated with self is the norm. But it is very, very necessary to truly know God, and to have Christ seen through you. The Lord is showing me deeply, and painfully, this basic truth and the reality of the power there is in denying self, along with the joy that this alligns me with my creator, which brings me close to the Lord.
How do you know if you have this sickness? I offer these pointed symptoms.
- You are currently breathing.
- You talk about how you feel a lot like Aches, pains, tiredness, hunger, etc.
- Comfort is king and we find ourselves thinking of ways and purchases that make us more comfortable.
- You are distracted by your appearance.
- You insist on your way.
- You must always be correct.
- Your opinion must be known to all.
- You avoid the uncomfortable things in being a follower of Christ. Things that push against self.
- You must control your kids, your marriage, your finances, and anything else you actually believe you are in control of.
- Worry about what people think of you. This consumes a lot of your thoughts.
- You put yourself ahead of your family, and your time is yours and you deserve _____________.
- You struggle with giving things away and giving money to the Lord and to missionaries.
- You covet your stuff, and you want more, updated, and bigger.
I think you get the idea. When these kinds of thoughts and behaviors rule us there are effects in the Kingdom of God, and to our character, attitude, personality, and of course relationships.
- We can’t submit to the Word of God (self is first).
- We are unable to see other needs, as our needs are at the front of the line.
- No one dare disagree with us, our opinion and will must be first.
- The voice of God, becomes distant…then gone, we hear our voice in our head, putting us first.
- We actually cannot truly see Christ unless we die to self.
- We have a lot of conflict with spouse, friends, and family. We get offended and hurt a lot it seems.
- We become shackled with self, and miss the freedom of only glorifying Christ, not us.
- The “Lord” is always moving us to different churches, or we just don’t even go anymore.
- Many don’t become saved and born again, they can’t break away from the god of self, and let Jesus be Lord.
How do I know these things? I am like everyone else. I wrestle and struggle with self. I find myself, needing to be heard, needing to be right, needing to be selfish, BUT I really need to “die” to self, and let the life of Christ shine through me, and so do you. This morning I again knelt before the Lord and crucified my flesh and repented of my selfishness and thoughts of me, and not of Him. I love the freedom that living for Christ and dying to self brings to my heart and spirit. Take some time with Jesus and ask him if you have this sickness, and let him heal you.
Luke 9.23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.