This is the handout for the message, "The Big 'S' Problem for Change", I shared.
REALITIES OF “SELF”
- “Self” (i.e. selfishness, self-centeredness, selfish desires, selfish pursuits, selfish ambition, selfish tendencies, and so on) doesn’t want to die.
- Since I am a sin addict (sinner), and “self” is the essence of sin, I am then addicted to my“self”.
- “Self” is the biggest obstacle I face in trying to obtain wholeness—i.e. being whole in mind, body, and spirit.
- “Self” deceives me into believing that… “I’m fine”; “I don’t need help”; “I’m normal. You know, I’m like everyone else”; “I don’t have a problem”; and so on. Basically “self” deceives me into believing I don’t need to change.
- “Self” lives to rebel against God; or in other words, its whole function is to rebel against God.
- “Self” will never willingly surrender, it will never willingly admit defeat, it will never willingly confess its own deception, nor will it willingly admit its own faults.
- “Self” will destroy me and whatever I treasure (ref. Numbers 16).
- Unless I die to “self” I will remain alone as I am—“self-will run riot”/“a rampage of me, me, and more me”.
HOW TO DIE TO “SELF”?
The way we die to “self” is the same way we put to death any other addiction, we starve it to death.
1. Jesus says in Matt 10:24-25 that we starve “self” by denying—not giving in to, abandoning, rejecting—every form of selfishness. In other words don’t feed “self” more selfishness. Paul says in Phil. 2:3-4, “Do nothing through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind esteem others better than ourselves.” He further says not to only look out for our own interest, but also for the interest of others. Affirming again the “not feeding “self” more selfishness”, this time by way of regarding others more higher than ourselves (e.g. Matt. 20:28).
3. Paul says in Rom. 12:2 that we starve “self” by being transformed by the renewing of our mind; which according to Paul in Eph. 4:23-24 is done by putting on the new man—which in turn is done by wallowing in the Word of God.
4. Paul says in Rom. 12:9 that we starve “self” by being sincere in our love for our brethren. Being sincere in our love is, according to Apostle John in 1Jn. 3:16, laying down our selfishness for the brethren. Paul affirms this in Rom. 12:10 by reminding us that love is shown by honoring others more than ourselves.
5. And lastly, Paul says in Rom. 13:14 that we starve “self” by being as close to Christ as the clothes we wear, or cultivating (developing, nurturing, growing) more of the presence of God in our lives. The closer we get to Jesus the further we get away from “self”.
BENEFITS OF DYING TO “SELF”
- No longer fulfilling the lust of the flesh (Gal. 5:16-17).
- Bearing the fruit of the Spirit in our lives (Gal. 5:22-25), which ultimately glorifies Jesus, and that’s a great benefit.
- An immediate sense of relief. (from “The Twelve Steps for Everyone” pg. 26)
- Life becomes satisfying instead of frustrating––a joy instead of a constant struggle. (from “The Twelve Steps for Everyone” pg. 27)