Self is a four-letter word

When we use, or you hear someone use, the word “try” that means “self” is vying for control. Self is

assuming responsibility. Super responsibility. That’s not a good thing.

Self tries to live the Christian life. Self does good Christian work. Self loves to chair committees. Self likes to volunteer in the food pantry and the clothes closet.  Self loves to teach Bible Study. Self lives to volunteer. Self never says no. Self is “self” confident. Self likes to think it’s “self-sufficient”.

Self likes to play leader. Self becomes arrogant when someone has a better idea than self.  Self thinks it knows best. Self worries. Self gets full of self. Self stands up for self’s rights. Self knows how to do things right around its church. Self pouts when it doesn’t get its own way. Self is unyielding in its attitudes towards others. Self looks for greener grass. Self seeks greatness and  notoriety for its achievements and holiness. Self is judgmental. Self is self-conscious. Self takes even constructive criticism personally. Self likes to be right. But self is humble. If you don’t believe it ask self.

Self is such a failure.

Self needs breaking. As long as self seeks to be in control God can do little in self or through self. But self can not break its will to God’s will. It has to be a sanctifying work of God and God alone. Coming to the end of self is a life-long journey coming to the ultimate realization that “self” is not as smart or wise as “self” thinks.

Paul said in Philippians,

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4

Those verses are tough pills for self to swallow. And it’s only by the sanctifying work of Christ living in us that we can ever get to the end of self.

Jesus said in Luke 9:23

If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.

 That’s the end of self. The end of you. The end of me.

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8 thoughts on “Self is a four-letter word

  1. Okay, …BUT..what about non-Christians that work all their lives for others. That volunteer because they want to give back to their community and help others..that never brag about or even speak about the good things that they do for others. The people that either have not heard the gospel, or are of a different faith entirely, or have no faith whatsoever. Are they acting in selfishness? Or is it selflessness?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t know many non-believers who spend their lives with a heart for serving and helping others? If there are such people, their motivation does not come from Jesus living inside them because he’s not there.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I worked with several volunteers back when I was counseling at a women’s shelter. two of the volunteers were atheists..they had more love and care for the women and kids in that shelter, volunteered more time and self for those people than any other volunteer. They never spoke of the work they did, never bragged about their volunteerism, did not seek kudos for themselves, were concerned only with helping others. One told me that only bu giving her time and energy towards others did she feel worthwhile. I thought she was far more Christian in her attitudes than many of the church goers that volunteered and bragged about how much time and effort they put in for “those poor women”. the atheists never once looked at the people they were serving as being less than they.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Excellent thoughts, Suze. So good that I’m turning our back-and-forth here into a post for Tuesday.
        Something inside us all says, at times, “Something’s wrong.” “Something’s not right.” “They shouldn’t do that.” And many different folks, even atheists, may feel motivated to fix what’s wrong. That is God’s Spirit at work speaking, even to non-believers (Romans 1:20; Psalm 19).
        I have to be careful when I’m discussing the Bible to remember that I believe the whole book is the inerrant word of God. In other words, every word in it is God-breathed and is Truth. When Solomon, the wisest man in history, says, “I saw that all toil and all achievement spring from one person’s envy of another. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” in Ecclesiastes 4:4, I believe by faith that it’s true. The atheist volunteer who said she, “only by giving her time and energy towards others did she feel worthwhile,” is a perfect case in point. She apparently was not volunteering solely to help others. It sounds as if she was volunteering to make herself feel good about herself, “worthwhile” as you say. That sounds more self”ish” than self”less” to me. That sounds as if she’s relying, as you say, on her personality and her works to help her feel better about herself (“Some do it on the strength of their own personalities,”). Who or what do your atheist volunteers envy? Who knows. Their envy may have nothing to do with their efforts to make themselves feel good by volunteering. They may have gone home and bragged to their neighbors or friends about their “good works. But if I’m going to accept the Bible as inerrant truth, then I have to believe Solomon that “all toil and all achievement spring from one person’s envy of another. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.’
        Thanks again for your thoughtful comments. God bless.

        Liked by 1 person

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