I have refined you, though not as silver;
I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. Isaiah 48:10
Raise your hand if you like afflictions
Nobody. Right? Well guess what? Afflictions are good for us. So are trials and tribulations and struggles. Before you click off my blog and tell me I’m crazy. . .
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.
Editor’s Note: I ran across this post on Writinggomer’s blog and wanted to share it with my readers. Greg has some of the same issues I have expressed on this blog before about the state of the church today. Is the church more like a harlot or the Bride of Christ?
Published on his website: Believing God Today
How would you like your eggs today, over-easy, scrambled, fried, sunny-side up, soft-boiled, hard-boiled, poached, or shirred?? How about your steak; rare, medium rare, medium, medium well, or well done?? Choice of potatoes? This sounds like questions for a meal in a restaurant right?
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Someone once told me we’ll be able to pick out the Baptists when we get to heaven. They’ll be the ones toting the covered dishes. Eating has always been a hallmark for us church folks. We love to eat and gather around the dinner table.
The trouble is, it seems to me the church is guilty of treating church like a pot luck supper. More and more we’re ignoring God’s banquet table and cooking up our own “kitchen religion”. The church would rather eat whatever tastes good than feast on God’s Word. The church would rather roast a bunch of rules and regulations than feast on the Bread of Life. The church would rather gorge on opulence than taste obedience.
“I’ve made myself available
to those who haven’t bothered to ask.
I’m here, ready to be found
by those who haven’t bothered to look.
I kept saying ‘I’m here, I’m right here’
to a nation that ignored me.
I reached out day after day
to a people who turned their backs on me,
People who make wrong turns,
who insist on doing things their own way.
They get on my nerves,
are rude to my face day after day,
Make up their own kitchen religion,
a potluck religious stew.
Isaiah 65:1-3 MSG