I really believe that the beginning and end of all our issues regarding sin and separation from God are found in the selfish side of self. The Adam family had everything they needed. They were completely dependent on God but still put in the dominion role of governing the Earth. That is pretty cool if you think about it. Imagine a great Kingdom in the best part of the world. (That would be a fun pole. What image popped into your mind? Beach, mountains, meadows, Forrest?) Your Dad is the King and he has given you dominion over the country. That means you go where you want and have the freedom to do what you want. Since your King Dad has unlimited resources (I should say that the Kingdom is very wealthy like Solomon), you can really impact the landscape and people of the Kingdom. That is the setup that Adam had. Then Satan pulled them into a deceptive conversation about roots. As the Lord of this imaginary Kingdom would you want to be the King? Would you question your blood line? Let me be clear, you are the King’s son there is no doubt. Realize that this defect is Satan’s core issue. He wanted to be worshiped. He impressed his own dysfunction on mankind in the beginning and still is today. Why did Adam buy it? No clue. It is hard on this side of the fall to see clearly. Why did Satan fall? He had it all too. Regardless this new deceived way of thinking led to the consumption of self-fruit. It was the “I don’t need God to tell me stuff” fruit. It was the “I can make the best decisions” fruit. It was the “I’d rather be independent then subject” fruit. Well we got one and left another. The first “one” was death in us. I am pretty sure that hell is an eternal existence with only oneself and no God, complete absence of light. The “another” was the Kingdom. We gave it away to the deceiver. This was cleaver work by the liar. He gets a whole planet of rebellious self seekers. Wonder if that is what he was looking for? I guess it gives Satan satisfaction to see mankind focused on self instead of God. It honors him because man acts like him.
Fast forward and Jesus restores it all but there is still this nagging self issue, flesh issue, independence issue. So what do we do? The idea of surrender for many is “giving up what makes me me.” There is some truth in that but we need to get some better perspective. Here are a couple of key verses:
Philippians 2:13 [Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight. (AMP)
Ephesians 2:10 God has made us what we are [For we are his handiwork/workmanship/work of art]. In Christ Jesus, God made [created] us to do good works, which God planned in advance for us to live our lives doing. (EXB)
Gal 3:3 Are you so foolish [How can you be so stupid]? You began your life in Christ by [by; or through] the Spirit. Now are you trying to make it complete [finish; or be perfected] by your own power [human effort; the flesh]? (EXB)
Philippians 1:6 And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you (AMP)
How about if we take a different look at the issue of self versus selfish. One is who God made us to be and the other is fed by the enemy. Self is all the stuff that makes uniquely who we are. Selfish is that desire to do it on our own. Self is amazing in the power of Grace. Selfish fights every part of surrender out of fear and finds strength in weakness. So with new knowledge and understanding I say we crush this thing once and for all. God absolutely has the answers and solutions. Once self is stripped of selfish we become the beautifully created people He intended. Awareness is the key. For example, anger issues towards others become compassion when intensity is free of selfish and full of God. The desire to take from others becomes resource awareness and generation for the Kingdom. Here is one for me: Introversion becomes intimacy with Papa. Here are a few more to ponder.
Spirit Powered Self
There are many many more. Let’s unpack this last one for a second. If you are very discerning you notice stuff about people. When selfishness is present you may take offense with other people’s good stuff and your lack of good stuff. This becomes envy. You wish you had what they had. Do you know that without discernment you may not even notice that they have good stuff? Now take away selfish and add the Holy Spirit. Then you get celebration. You get to come along side others and celebrate their blessings and gifting. That is cool.
I encourage you to take this new tool with perception and start applying it. Ask God to show you stuff that has selfish attached and what it looks like absent of selfish and empowered by Him. Too often I beat myself up when I see selfish flaws in my person. I start rebuking and declaring and foaming at the mouth and try to rip that thing out of myself. OK, a little extreme on the imagery, but you get the idea. How about instead we admire what God has given us. We celebrate how He has made us and we seek revelation of how that personality trait is actually amazing when selfish is removed and Holy Spirit steps in.