Originally published Monday, 30 March 2015.
I've got something kind of embarrassing to say, something I kind of hate to admit, but I am sharing it today in hopes that God's truth helps me overcome this annoying habit.
Here goes: I can't stop making everything about me.
How that person responded - is about me.
My ministry work - is about me.
Someone getting chosen above me - is about me.
My husband's response - is about me.
My children's behavior - is about me.
The response of another - is about me.
Can you see where this is going?
Somehow everything centers around - me, myself and I. And even when I say it doesn't, I lie.
I don't want to do this, but it is almost like I can't help myself. We live in a "selfie" world.
We take pictures of ourselves in the moment and all we can think about is how we performed, how we looked and what kind of response we will get. It is almost as if our worth is dependent on "likes". It is almost like others "comments" are vitally important in our missions.
So, I wonder, how do I really die to self instead of pretending all that matters is myself?
God says: Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. (Mt. 23:25)
I certainly don't want to be that dirty Pharisee, but my cup is just the same - dirty on the inside and shiny on the outside. I lure others over with my outer beauty, until they come closer to see what I have inside. Truly, no one wants to be filled by a cup that only pours out black, dirty and tainted water. There is no living water there. Dirty unclean vessels can't love as Christ would - nor live as he would.
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; (Phil. 2:3)
How do I get over myself to dive into God's will?
Because I am tired of swinging on the pendulum of righteousness - either I swing too far to the left and am completely inadequate and selfish or I swing too far to the right and am completely over-righteous and prideful.
Back and forth I go.
Have you ever felt this way? When we ride this swing, we can never seem to rest in the peace of the Lord. We are always striving to be more, to do more and to give more. Both a guilty shame-filled heart and an overzealous righteous heart both have roots in the "me first" mentality.
When one falls down, the other side lifts higher. Back and forth they go.
Yet, the middle place on the pendulum, the still place, is the place of love, grace, mercy; it is a restful place.
God calls us here.
So, how do we come to this resting place of stillness, shamelessness and surrender?
The place where we are neither self-centered or self-inflated, but simply self-less?
Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. He has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity... (2 Tim. 1:8-9)
- The power of God saved us.
- The power of God called us.
- The power of God leads us in our holy calling.
- The power of God works not through our works but through his.
- The power of God works as he purposes.
- The power of God bestows grace over grace.
This is the power we walk in. Anything more or anything less than God's power is just the endless movement of a pendulum that keeps heading in the wrong direction.
It is solely by the power of Christ that we do anything. When we work through his power, his power at work within us makes us selfless, humble and full of grace.
It reminds me of the lyrics of "Turn your Eyes Upon Jesus":
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
We fade, Christ brightens.
We become selfless, he becomes radiant.
He shines, we take the back burner.
Not by the power of our own might, but only by the power of the great God we have in sight.