The Narrowness of Self
Matthew 16:25 “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.”
We lose our self-life, that we might find our Christ life.
You find your Christ life as you, by deliberate acts of the will, bring yourself into subjection to the principal of obedience, which is God’s Principal.
Let us describe what our “self-life” is:
It is all the experiences you have had in your life (those we remember and those we don’t).
It is our thinking (this is shaped by our parents, our background, and the world we move around in: If people around us hate something, mostly likely we will, too)
It is our affections (the things we TRULY love, not what we pretend to care for: You may go out for tennis, not because you love tennis, but because there is someone you see, at tennis practice, that you “love”).
It is also your will. It is the active part of yourself. What you will to do, you will do.
All these are your self life. You can easily see how they can be influenced (as a Christian) by the world, the devil, as well as God.
Each of these powers exerts influence in your life. Which you choose to yield to is the most important question you face each day.
Romans 6:16 “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey: whither of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?”
We lose our self life, little by little, until you are an expression of God’s Will, no matter where you are, or what you are doing.
We will be defeated by the wiles of the Devil, in this, unless we keep before us always: “For My Sake”.
We do this for Jesus sake. This is the personal choice of our hearts, minds, and wills, for Him.
It is done, once, when we give ourselves to Christ, as Lord and King.
And it is done again and again as we walk through life, with Him.
“For Jesus sake”. It should ever be our thought and desire.
Now, let us see how we are to lose our self-life:
First let us see how we shrink in to the narrowness of self, any time we are put into a trying position.
We are going along, denying self, when someone says something we take VERY personally about ourselves.
We then begin a series of steps, backing up, into the “safety” of our self.
If we back up, we start shutting doors, closing windows; keeping out as much of what is being talked about as possible.
We may smile and even agree with what is being said; but plainly we have shut ourselves up, so we will not be hurt.
We focus on something good we have done, or something bad that person has done. All the while we are smiling, and pretending we are really in the conversation. But we are not.
This is seeking the narrowness of self. It is a mechanism that most people employ at one time or another.
What they are thinking and saying inside is entirely different, than how they are acting outside.
But this is self. And Christ says, IF we are going to follow Him, we must deny self.
Matthew 16:24 “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”
It is a matter of the will, willing with Christ.
And it is effort. To find out His Will, and then to set aside our opinions about it, and do it: “for His sake”.
Will we place ourselves in His pure Light, and see Reality?
You see, our memories, attitudes, and affections all play a part in our bringing ourselves to Christ.
They are all to be sanctified, or set aside to Him; one by one, as they start to hinder our walk with Him.
This requires us to see them as they are. To stop hiding from the truth about ourselves, and bringing us, the real us, to Christ.
The old song, “Just as I am”, is true.
(It was, in fact, written because a person who felt that he could never be saved, was about to give up. In a last ditch effort to know for himself whether God would save him, he entered a church, and sat in the last row.
He listened as the preacher was giving his message; when suddenly he stopped, looked around, then said: “You come to Jesus, just as you are.” Then he went back to his message.
The person was saved, just as he was, for that was what he needed to hear.)
God can not save the pretend you. He saves you.
And salvation is four-fold.
He saves from self’s love of sin–conviction of the Holy Spirit.
He saves from our guilt of sin–being born again.
He saves from the power of sin and self–sanctification.
He saves from the presence of sin–taking us to Heaven, when we die, or are raptured.
To come out from the narrowness of self, you must want to get honest with yourself and God, tell Him the way you really feel, and listen to His reply.
If you are ready for such a personal relationship, for His sake; start talking with Him.
And expect an answer, for He will speak to all who will hear.
John 7:17 (N.A.S.) “If any man is willing to do His will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it is of God, or whether I speak from Myself.”