The Master’s indwelling and the SELF LIFE
“What is the reason that so many professing Christians are wasting their lives in the terrible bondage of the world instead of living in the manifestation and the privilege and the glory of the child of God”?
Why is it, that so many professing Christians are living mingled, divided, worldly, half-hearted lives?
To these two questions there is one answer: it is SELF that is at the root of the whole problem. “And therefore if anyone asks me, how do I get rid of this compromise life? The answer would not be, “you must do this, or that, or the other thing,” but the answer would be, “a new life from above, the life of Christ, must take the place of the SELF-LIFE It is not a thing that you do but what you become. (John 3:16)
“Let us consider from these words of the text the one word, “self”. Jesus said to Peter: “if any man will come after me let him deny him-self, and take up his cross and follow me.” That is the mark of the disciple; that is the secret of the Christian life-deny self and all will come right. Note that Peter had given an answer that pleased Christ wonderfully, he saw that the Holy Spirit of the father had been teaching Peter v17. But note how strong the carnal man is in Peter. Christ speaks of His cross; he could understand about the glory, you are the “Son of God;” but about the cross and the death he could not understand, and he ventured into his SELF-CONFIDENCE to say: (vv21-22, and Jesus rebuked him (v23). He said Peter; you are talking like a mere carnal man, and not as the Spirit of God would teach you.
Let us consider, first of all, the nature of this SELF-LIFE, then denote some of its works and then ask the question: how can we be delivered from it?
First of all, realize that self as designed by God was not a bad thing. Self is the power with which God has created and endowed every intellectual creature. Self is the very center of a created being. And why did God give the angels or man a self? The object of this self was that we might bring it as an empty vessel unto God; that He might put into it His LIFE. God gave to us the power of self-determination, that we might bring this self everyday and say. “Oh, God, work in it; I offer it to you.”
God wanted a vessel into which He might pour out His divine fullness of beauty, wisdom and power; and so He created the world, the sun, and the moon, and the stars, the trees, and the flowers, and the grass, which all show forth the riches of His wisdom, and beauty and goodness. But they do it without knowing what they do. Then God created the angels with a self and a will, and their responsibility was to voluntarily yield themselves to Him as vessels for Him to fill. But tragically, they did not all do that. There was one at the head at the head of a great company and he began to look upon himself, and to think of the wonderful powers with which God had endowed him, and to delight in HIMSELF. He began to think: Must such a being as I always remain dependent on God? He exalted HIMSELF, PRIDE asserted ITSELF in separation from God, and at that very moment he became, instead of an angel in Heaven, a devil in hell. Self turned to God is the glory of allowing the creator to reveal himself in us. SELF turned away from God, is the very darkness and fire of hell.
We all know the terrible story of what took place after that. God created man, and Satan came in the form of a serpent and tempted Eve with the thought of becoming as God, having an independent SELF, knowing good and evil. And while he spoke with her, he breathed into her, in those words the very poison and the very pride of hell. His own evil spirit, the very poison of hell, entered humanity, and it is this cursed SELF that we have inherited from our first parents. It was that SELF that ruined and brought destruction upon this world, and all that there has been of sin, and darkness, and of wretchedness and misery. And, 2thepoint, all that there will be throughout the countless ages of eternity in hell, will be nothing but the reign of SELF, the curse of SELF , separating man and turning him away from God.
And if we are to understand fully what Christ is to do for us, and we are to become partakers of a full salvation. We must learn to know, and to hate, and to give up entirely this cursed SELF. (1 Peter 1:9)
Now what are the works of SELF? We could mention many, but at the heart of them all is SELF-WILL, SELF-CONFIDENCE, SELF-EXALTATION, and SELF-WILL. Pleasing SELF is the greatest sin of man, and it is at the root of all that compromising with the world which is the ruin of so many. Fallen men cannot understand why they should not please themselves and do their own will. Numbers of professing Christians have never gotten hold of the idea that a Christian is a man or woman who is never to seek his own will, but is always to seek the will of God, as one in whom the Spirit of Christ lives (Romans 8:5-9; Matthew 10:37-39; Luke 17:26-30, 32-33).
As Christians, we are to look at our own lives. Do you find there, SELF-WILL and SELF-PLEASING? Burn this in your brain!! Every time you please yourself, you deny Jesus. It is one of the two. You must please Him only, and deny SELF, or you must please YOURSELF and deny Him. The fruit of such a choice is SELF-CONFIDENCE, SELF-TRUST and SELF-DEPENDANCE. Then there is SELF-EXALTATION. How much pride and jealousy there is in the Christian world, how much desire for human praise and pleasing men, instead of always living in the presence of God, with the one thought: am I pleasing to Him? (John 5:44) – Receiving honor of one another renders a life of faith absolutely impossible. The SELF we call the IMPOSTER started from hell, it separated us from God. It is a cursed deceiver that leads us astray from Jesus”.
What are we to do to get rid of the IMPOSTER? Jesus answers us in the words of our text “if any man will come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and, and follow me”. What that means is I must deny myself and take Jesus as my life. I must choose. There two lives, the SELF-LIFE and the Christ life. I must choose one of the two. “Follow me”, says our Lord, make me the law of your existence, the rule of your conduct. Give me your whole heart, follow me, and I will care for all (Matthew 6:8, 31-34, Psalm 38:9). It is a solemn exchange set before us. Choose Christ or choose the death of SELF. But understand the consequences of the wrong choice: (It is the fallen SELF that will be cast into hell Matthew 25:31-34, 41; Revelation 20:7-15)
I am indebted to Andrew Murray for the majority of this posting.