Time for a major confession here; no more hiding: I try to maintain like I’m not selfish…EVER! (I know, how believable, right?) But, the problem is that I believe that this is a facade that others should be able to easily equate with the real me. I don’t feel like I can deal with the truth if it were to be universally acknowledged.
I struggle, trying to always be ahead of where I really am spiritually. I don’t like thinking I’m a sinner–that is so just…ugh! Who wants to believe that about themselves? Certainly not anyone who has any pride. (Ding! Ding! That would be me.) The truth is that I have not yet gotten to the place where I do not want my image to be a prominent part of my life in Christ. I cannot seem to let it go.
I like the idea of being linked with Christ, but in my heart I do not yet understand all that such a union must entail. I do not have a strong enough concept of Christ. I perceive that I must be always seeing Him in light of me rather than having it the other way around. I believe I’ve it here before that I see myself as the measure of all things, if I’m truly honest.
So the question then becomes, if I see myself as the one the universe revolves around and hinges on, how can I possibly have the capacity for being unselfish? Surely, God who is truly the embodiment of these things, does yet remain unselfish though He does have the right to absolute rule over His universe. But, as one who has a heart-problem that projects myself into His place of infinite prerogative, I cannot maintain sinlessness in attempting an unauthorized copy of His deity.
So the fact that I can say I appreciate God for who He is, is largely influenced by the fact that His identity is something I covet for myself. I want His image to cover me, but in the wrong way. I anticipate how He will make me look good–almost like I favor Him as my ticket to achieving a spiritual make-over. I love Him for me, not Him.
But, if this is not how God intends for us to love Him, how can you and I move beyond living heart-lives similar to what I’ve described above? Is there hope for us and, if so, what does that look like? How can God invade our hearts to the point that our hearts look more like His than the ones we started with? Where does the transformation come from?
I think the secret is found woven into the very questions we’re posing. The necessary ingredient to spiritual transformation is not expecting it to come from us. We broach the journey with the assumption that we are going to be worked on far more than we will ever be purely working out.
We trust that God will be the miracle-worker here. Whatever He asks of us we will do, but nothing that comes about will be recognized as purely our effort. There is so much more going on here than we can see; therefore, we cannot possibly be leading the project at any time. Our change is in God’s hands.
Because all that needs to change us must be God’s project, we do not relate the facts about us to the case first. We sidestep everything that there is to be known about us and choose to boast with God only in the Person of Jesus Christ. If we want to stay where we are in our selfishness, we need not reach out for God at all. But if we want to take on the character of Christ in its place, then surely we can do no less than set our focus Him.
In fact, we must seek Him for the power to lay aside every other enticing focus of our affections and interest. We want self to lose all of its governing power over us. But this victory is truly only as valuable as the internal territory that God gains by the fight. If we become selfless but do not become godly, there is no credit to the Savior. He wants the end to show that He was the One who brought, not just change, but redemption. Selfishness is wrong and distasteful because of the corruption that it is of God’s original design for us. We don’t just need to become less self-intensive but to be redirected to become beings of glory-giving to our God. Does this sound like it might be the offensive strategy we need against the self that seeks to use all our hearts for one who is not one with the Father, Son or Holy Spirit?