Before I go on and explain this diagram would you take a minute to look at it? Try to make sense of it without my explanation. There is not much to it yet, I admit, but there will be more added regularly until it gives a complete picture with references of the work that God does in each of us.
The battle with self that every one of us faces is real. And yet it is internal and cannot be seen or measured. It is only something you yourself can ‘see’ looking inward a bit and thinking about your motives and your thought life as it pertains to your actions and plans. Sometimes it is so well hidden by busyness, or for some by self-deception, that only the Spirit of God searching within can make it ‘visible’. For some it is already blatantly obvious.
Why Are People Self Centered
As I mentioned in the last post, God is altogether altruistic. He is always looking to the good and welfare of all of us. Altruism is a divine attribute and not a human one; at least not human in our fallen state. Please understand that in saying God is ALWAYS altruistic, I do not elevate His mercy and grace above His truth and holy sense of justice in any way. His attributes are inseparable. Nor am I excluding our responsibility to acknowledge and respond to Him in all our ways. If anything, His altruism intensifies our responsibility to respond but that is not my aim here. All I am doing here is making a clear distinction between God’s thoughts and ways and our own. This visual helps me to see it. I hope it helps you to see it too. We will be building out this diagram in future posts. I will explain the line going down the middle of this diagram also in future posts.
Every one of us falls somewhere on this vertical bar (image above); somewhere between Narcissism and a point not quite attaining to the always altruistic ways of God which are untainted by selfish motives or a self focus. We can use whatever ‘self’ terms we wish to use in order to describe it. Self preservation, or self focus, or egocentric. The point here is that the battle with the self-life in our attempts to be more selfless is real.
Define Self Centeredness
The journey to Higher Ground starts with a recognition that God’s thoughts are not our thoughts and neither are His ways our ways. Our journey has to begin with a recognition of where we stand presently. We need to define self centeredness for ourselves as it pertains to us personally. Paul described (and it is recorded for us in Romans 7:18-24) the battle with self concluding with, “When I would do good, evil is present with me.” Here he describes the battle with self that every one of us faces (none of us excluded). He actually concluded with. “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” And we can almost feel how deeply he wrestled with this. We must wrestle with it as deeply.
So herein is my challenge. Begin to pray and think about the inner life as it pertains to others, as it pertains to self, and as it pertains to ‘self in relation to others’. Pray David’s prayer, “Search me oh God.” Ask Him to reveal any hidden ways in you. You may be in a place of faithful service to God, serving others faithfully, but I am willing to wager (if I were a betting man) that there are some things that God will show you if you will begin to pray this daily.
For some this will be a revelation of some disturbing truths about self. For some it will just be an affirmation of things they already knew about themselves. Please join me in this self exposing prayer. I say ‘self exposing’ rather than self searching because it is God Who does the searching. Will you ask Him daily to search you?
One final note; although each of us are on the vertical bar somewhere, our place there is fluid. By fluid, I mean that it changes up and down with external stimulus and as we grow and mature it progressively hovers closer to the altruism of God. Our goal is to get closer, and closer, and closer to genuine altruism as we grow.
As always — please comment, PM me, share, communicate.
I will not know you are there and benefiting from this without them.
Thank you always.
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