Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Self Life

Romans 7:24 “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”

I like articles that carry the theme of: “If it’s broke, fix it.” Of course you have to first realize that something is broke first, then get to the source of what is wrong before you can work on it. One such article that I read stated that this bible verse’s despondent cry follows Paul’s disturbing monologue on the inner strife between his two natures in Romans 7:13-24 (a passage that Pastor Kennedy describes as the “I” problem. Here the apostle describes the conflict that goes on in the life of every Christian, until the self-life is completely conquered and the will of Christ reigns supreme. The ascendancy of self is indicated in these verses by the fact that the personal pronouns “I,” “me,” “my” are used no less than 35 times in verses 15-24 alone as Paul records his inner thoughts and feelings (e.g., “that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I”). Such a testimony is permeated with introspection, relating everything to “self” instead of to Christ. No wonder the conclusion is so miserable: “O wretched man that I am!”

Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.”

Unfortunately, this is the status of most Christians whose interests are almost completely self-centered. Most Christian books and sermons are designed to appeal to such personal interests, and the explosive modern growth of Christian professional “counseling” likewise reflects the existence of multitudes of self-centered Christians. I hear about going to “Christian Counseling” all the time now because just talking to the mom or dad, the grandparents or a pastor doesn’t seem to “cut it” anymore when “egocentric” is sitting on the throne. But the article points out that the happy and useful Christian is the one whose concerns and activities center around others and who earnestly seeks to follow and honor Christ and His Word. And this is exactly the conclusion to which the apostle Paul comes in his melancholy soliloquy. “Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” he cries. Immediately the answer comes: “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord” in Romans 7:24-25.

Philippians 2:3-4 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”

We do still have to battle the old nature (Galatians 5:16-25), but in Christ we have both the incentive and power to “put off the old man with his deeds” (Colossians 3:9) and to “put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Ephesians 4:24). 1 John 3:17 But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? Away with the “Self Life”.

In Christ, Brian

1 comment:

Lon Anderson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.