The Self Life Lies
Most of us are fixers. At least when it comes to our own problems we are fixers. There is an internal instinct that resurfaces the two year old behavior of “No. Me do it!”
That childish tendency is actually a form of confidence in self. It seldom looks like confidence. It actually looks like and is insecurity. But it is truly confidence in self because we resist the efforts of God and others to intervene. Instead, we depend on our own ability to muddle through.
More often than not, that muddling through takes on some kind of negative view toward self. We literally speak to ourselves, calling ourselves stupid, or saying things like “I can’t believe you just did that … or said that.” And we actually believe those words that we just spoke to and about ourselves.
The Scriptures tell a different story. Every word that comes out of a human being’s mouth originates in his heart (Matt. 12:34-35). Most of the time, we are surprised by or disappointed with ourselves when bad things slip out. The Bible talks about a deep rooted sin nature that, if given a chance, will pervert every single thing we do.
Many people believe that Judas actually had a “good” motive for betraying Jesus. He wanted to force Jesus to step up and be the King He was created to be. Potentially, Judas thought that if he set Jesus up with the Jewish leaders, he would have to use His power. Judas possibly thought Jesus would take authority over both the Jews and the Romans in the same way He took authority over the demonic realm. The self life is that deceptive. It can make evil look good and good look evil. Even a total betrayal of the Son of God can seem like the right thing to do. The self life is full of self lies.
Much of the time, we are busy beating ourselves up or perhaps feeling sorry for ourselves. Occasionally we are self confident and feel like we can handle anything, but for most people I know, the negative side is much stronger. Because the negative side is the strong side, most people would say that they don’t have confidence in self. Wrong.
As long as I am the primary fixer of me, I have confidence in self. Even if I am down on myself, that is a form of me trying to fix me. Ephesians 5:29 says that “no one ever hated his own flesh.” The negativity that we have toward ourselves would make that verse seem to be untrue. But here is the truth. As long as our first tendency is to turn to self for answers, we still believe in self. Belief in self fits that love of self that is spoken of in Ephesians 5:29.
One of the most powerful words God ever spoke to me was that I had more faith in myself to get me out of a mess that I had faith in God. When trouble would come, I would instinctively pull up one hundred mental role plays of what I could do to fix the problem. All of that would come before I would choose to stop, wait, and listen to God. Of course, there was a little bit of “please, God help me” thrown in there. But where was the bulk of my energy? It was on trying to figure out a solution. I was my own fixer.
The true evidence that faith in self is broken is an ability to stop, wait, and listen … and not move until God speaks. Like Saul (1 Samuel 13), who was commanded to wait for seven days, we might wait for six and one half days. But when things start to look bad, we resort to self. Like Saul, we even include a spiritual element to make us feel better about our “submission to God.” Saul offered sacrifices. How much more spiritual can you get? But the truth is, he created his own solution and depended on self.
When there are comparisons with others running through your mind, when there is self pity or you are feeling sorry for yourself, when you are completely angry at self and even screaming at yourself, there is still faith in self. There is an anger toward self for not being able to get it right. You can’t have that kind of anger toward self unless you actually believe that you should be “better than that.”
To get better, we must finally accept what the Bible says about how deeply the sin nature is rooted in us. When triggered, the sin nature is going to bubble up and ooze out of the pores of our heart. We must come to a point of knowing how much we absolutely need God. For the healthy person, sin becomes more of a reminder of our need to turn back to God and connect with Him. The healthy person puts an end to the response of beating up of self.
How quickly are you able to simply turn to God and wait when you do or say foolish things? How active is the self life in you? Do your reactions show that you know your absolute need for God in all things? Or do they show that you believe that if you just beat yourself up one more time, you will finally get it right?
The self life. It is so deceptive. Even when we are down on ourselves, we are actually in love with ourselves. The self life is lying to us and we believe it! We believe that with just one more chance … and a little more self discipline … we can get it right. That is a form of love of self that is perverse.
Why not let God love you and pour into you what you need to get better? That only happens when we make room for God. There is only room for God when we cease from the self life. What is your first reaction when trouble comes? Are you giving self the first and biggest shot? Or is God truly God of your life?
Stop. Wait. Listen. Obey. Make room for God.