For such a small word, "self" has such big impact; and is very difficult to get away from in this "self"-centered world.
Pastor Duke's sermon last Sunday (1/31/10), which was based on Philippians 3:10, really hit home for me. It was a kick in the behind, a slap in the face, a flick on the ear! OUCH!
GET OUT OF YOURSELF! GET OVER YOURSELF! It's NOT about YOU! Look up and set your eyes on CHRIST; look up for your POWER, your STRENGTH, your PERSEVERENCE! (Hebrews 12:2-3: "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.")
Without Christ there will be nothing but a feeling of loss, hopelessness and misery! I should know this! I've been there before.
Before I followed Christ, I kept repeating my old patterns of sin and abuse...abuse from others and from myself. The cycle of "taking back" everything continued on incessantly...taking back the depression, taking back the pain, taking back the dependent and abusive relationships. With Christ in my heart, I had the power of His resurrection on my side...the power to say "NO!" to sin and temptation; the power to let go of those old patterns forever and let God take control. God has the power to bring me out of this world, through tribulation, adversity and GRACE! His GRACE is sufficient! (1 Peter 5:6-11: "Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power forever and ever. Amen."). What a relief!
In my post entitled, "The Black Hole of Motherhood," I dove deep into "self." I lost sight of what's important. I started to fix my eyes on myself instead of Christ. How insane is that?!
To know Jesus Christ as my Savior should be to know the suffering He endured for me. And how DARE I diminish that with my petty squabbles of being "lost" in the very role God made me for?!? God never said we should strive for happiness, but He did say we should strive for holiness. In suffering in this world, through Christ, we participate in the fellowship of His suffering...to lead a "cross-centered" life. (II Corinthians 1:5-10: "For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.") To become like Christ in His death, is to serve Him in costly ways, destroying old habits and patterns.
Living by faith means focusing on Christ and realizing that "self" is not the focal point, HE IS! (II Corinthians 5:15: "And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again.")
Thanks to Pastor Duke for driving these points home for me! and with that, I am "Vertically Challenged" once again.
(For those of you who do not attend Temple Baptist Church of Halfmoon, NY, you can go to http://www.temple-baptist.org/ to listen to Pastor Duke's sermon dated 1-31-10, which inspired this post.)