Friday, June 24, 2011

I want to die

Yes, I really do want to die.

I want to die to myself.

I want to die to self because I'm pretty selfish. Self-important, self-serving, self-worshiping... you get the picture. I have "rights". The "right" to be impatient with my family members when they are disturbing me as I think deeply about something really important (like what I am going to put on my blog later that evening).  I "deserve" some peace and quiet. I deserve this after working hard all day (of course, my wife does more work in 30 minutes of her day than I do in mine). I could go on, but it would really be deeply embarrassing to describe episodes of my self-worship. What I have come to realize is that this is something I need to battle every hour of every day and I suspect that many of you are nodding your heads (mostly my brothers) saying "yep" as you can identify.

The way I battle sin is with truths from Scripture because I really believe that God's Word is living and active and that it can penetrate even my thick skull and calloused heart to dig out the root of selfishness. And the Bible tells me that's how to battle sin.

Awhile ago I had coffee with a pastor from my church (who is also one of my closest friends so he knows me very well) and I asked him what he did (because I know pastor's are selfish too, just not as often). He pulled something from one of the most popular chapters in the Bible. He looked at me with a smile and he said, "What I bring to bear is 1 Corinthians 13:5" (really? from the "love" chapter... I don't remember anything helpful from there!) ... then he said eight words that left me silent for about a minute...

"Love does not insist on it's own way."

Isn't that good? I love to say those words and take them in and roll them around in my brain and then really take them in where it counts... the heart. Can you see how that snippet of a verse can change your perspective from you out to others? It's doing a good work in me. Now I just need to remember! To call it to mind and because remembering is the first change.

Now, do you see how 1 Corinthians 13:5 speaks of love? What love is that? Or, better, where does that love derive from? What Paul is saying is that when love is present in us, we will be outward and upward facing not inward facing. We won't insist on having things our way (aka, being self-centered). So, I found some good verses that can put even more meat on that bone. 2 Corinthians 5:14-15:

"For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised."

The love we have is the love of Christ. That is what should be controlling us. Why? Because He died... and I died (see the connection? I want to die?). He was raised to life... and I am raised to new life (because I died, remember?). Now, because I am raised to newness of life ... guess what?


Jesus didn't die so I could live for myself, He died so that I could live for Him! Living for ourselves is what brought wrath to begin with (Adam and Eve = the first self-worshipers). When I live for Him and my heart is full of love for Him as I survey His beauty and perfections, then I can live for others, serve others, think of others first, deny myself ... love others. When I take care of the vertical, then I am ready, willing and eager for the horizontal. Even my wife has noticed and commented that I have been more helpful to her of late! That's God's kindness to me.

Obviously, there is so much good truth in those verses we could probably go on all night. If this has resonated with you and God has used His Words (not mine) to bring something into the light to be dealt with, then go to Him, repent of it and ask Him to plant His Words deep in your heart. They will go on to bear much fruit.

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