I wish I could tell you that every time I feel The Lord pressing on my heart to analyze myself and check the motivations of my heart before I do something, I submit my mind, will, and emotions to Him and heed the Holy Spirit’s discernment in my life. But that just simply wouldn’t be true. I struggle with failure in conquering sinfulness in my life simply because of my pride, and my resistance to obedience to God.
So even in this past week, I have had to admit some pretty ugly sin in my life to God and ask for His forgiveness, which He gives in abundance to those who will love and serve Him. One of these areas of sin I have only truly be convicted of in the past couple days, and so before I continue I’d like to extend my hand and let you know that I am right beside you, I am not at all attempting to put myself on a pedestal and judge from behind my little iPad here. These are just thoughts from one struggling Christian attempting to live a life pleasing to God.
Everywhere you look these days you see messages like “love who you are” and “love your body” and similar little phrases like this that feed into this overall propaganda that our society is feeding us which says “You should love the lord ‘you’ with all your mind, with all your soul, and with all your strength, and don’t ever love your neighbour more than yourself (because we all know that we are our own best friend).” I’ve been told repeatedly, even by fellow Christians, that I should love who I am and not be ashamed of it.
How deceived are we?
I look to the Word of God, the Bible, to tell me truth and give me guidance, and this is what God has to say about ourselves apart from Jesus Christ living within us.
Jeremiah 17:9-10 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? “I The Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”
I am dead without God, and my deceitful and sick heart takes the lead in my life rather than the Holy Spirit. I lie to myself and convince myself that I am the most important person in my life, and I deserve glory, recognition, and reaffirmation of how great I really am. When I realize that I am still allowing my heart to deceive me, I must cry out to God with the words of David.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” (Ps. 139:23-24)
Now what’s the application here? Instead of ‘learning to love myself’, I want to learn to love HIM- the one true God, Jesus Christ Himself. And so I’ve had to ask myself some pretty probing questions this week, some of which I’ll share with you.
* Would I rather talk to the people around me about what God is doing in the lives of His people, or would I rather talk about what God is doing in my life, or rather what I am doing in my life?
* Do I tend to spend more time in the day worrying about how I look and ‘fixing’ my outward appearance, or checking where my heart is and how God is being glorified through this simple vessel (which is me)
*Do I love worshipping God because I am entering into His presence, or do I love hearing myself worship?
*Would I rather do something for God or have an intimate moment with The Lord and keep it to myself, or would I rather post it on the internet for all to see? And would I rather promote myself, or promote God?
Before you start to get angry about how I’m pushing my convictions on you, let me remind you that these are simply things The Lord has been revealing that I personally need to check myself on. God is very clear that we all struggle with different things depending on where our heart is before Him. That’s why Paul said in Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of The Lord Jesus, giving thank to God the Father through Him.
To tie everything together, The Lord has just simply opened my eyes to the danger of self-promotion in my life, especially through social media. And so I am committing to no more ‘selfies’, or posts that would simply draw attention to how great I am or what great things I’m doing simply for the sake of self-gratification; and for any who know me, please call me out on this! So as I am committing to this, please don’t be offended by my personal decision to flee this temptation. If anything, analyze yourself to make sure you’re not deceived, and then release any fears you have to The Lord.
He is so faithful to speak to you if you would simply run to Him. Jesus Christ is not an impersonal god made of stone, or a lofty god that only wishes to punish you and watch as you struggle through this life. God manifested Himself as a man and lived a perfect life, healing and forgiving sinners like myself, all so that He could finally die a horrifying death on a cross and take on all of my sin, your sin, and the sin of the entire world upon Himself, and rose again from the grave 3 days later defeating that sin and death, that we might see our depravity and need for a Saviour, and run to His open arms. He is love, and He truly does love the world He died for, but we must abandon our love for ourselves, Jesus says we must die to ourselves, that we might obtain salvation and grace from the One who is so worthy to be promoted and loved and served.
One final thing: this article from one of the pastors at Harvest Bible Chapel London, Norm Millar, is an excellent resource for you who may want to know more about why social media and selfies especially can be so dangerous. In it, Norm also has copied an article from Josh Philpot which is also very helpful for your own personal heart examination. Here is an excerpt and the link:
“…is it too much to ask that we refocus ourselves and our selfies, to rethink how we think about our faces? Instead of dispersing our faces among so many selfie-factories, perhaps we should focus on a single point, or rather, a single person—the face of Jesus Christ. Selfies say, “I’m here! I’m important! I matter!” God says that he is what matters, and the only image that should concern us is the one in whom rests the image of the invisible God. God says that we should dwell on the light of his face, which, as Paul states, is so clearly seen “in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor 4:6). We want glory. We desire it. We want the light on our faces. But in Christ alone is the “light of the knowledge of the glory of God.” (#nofilter)”
I pray that God continues to open our eyes to our own self-deception and keeps us from pride, ignorance, or even rebellion. He is faithful even when we are faithless, but let us strive to be sanctified and become more and more faithful to His will for our lives. You are loved!