I have never really thought a great deal about the true heart of self-centeredness. I don’t like the way I feel when I think about it. And most of us avoid thinking about things that cause us to feel ways we don’t like.
What is it about the thoughts of self-centeredness that we don’t like?
I think we all recognize that self-centeredness is not a good thing. And, if we acknowledge that we have self-centeredness, then we have to make some changes. The thought of making changes in this area is really awful because we want what we want.
I am sorry that I have included you in my rambling about self-centeredness. Maybe it isn’t your struggle. Maybe my struggle with self-centeredness is just so strong that I am certain that most other people must battle with it as well.
This weekend I heard Jimmy Evans of MarriageToday discussing the equality of a husband and wife in a marriage. He talked about the problems that arose from either one of the marriage partners trying to dominate. I wish I could remember exactly what and how he said it, so if I really botch this up, “Sorry Jimmy Evans! But it impacted me anyway!”
Jimmy Evans basically said that when one or the other of us in the marriage try to become the dominant one, we are trying to take God’s role. He went on to say that God is supposed to be the dominant one in a marriage. I was blown away!
I remembered James 4:1-3.
Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.
In that moment I saw self-centeredness for what it was, my own attempt to dethrone God.
No I never meant it to be that way. I simply wanted what I wanted. But in my battle to have my own way, I lose my trust in the Lord of my life. It’s the unspoken idea that God really doesn’t know what is best for my life or that even if He does, my way is better.
I stand amazed that after 21 years of walking with Him and 14 of those years serving Him in ministry, that I can still struggle so much with such a seemingly simple issue of trust.
Is having what we want or think we should have really worth it? How many Bible stories were written about someone who would stop at nothing, even dethroning God, to have their own way. And how many times did it turn out like they wanted?
Remember these Bible stories?
- Sarah desired to have a baby and made a mess forcing it. i.e. Hagar and Ishmael…
- Esau desired food so much that he sold his birthright for a bowl of beans. Really?!
- Moses desired that the people listen to him and honor him so he struck the rock one time too many. Moses missed his ultimate destiny of walking in the Promised Land.
- Samson desired Delilah so much that he gave his protective secrets to her and lost his strength, his eyes, and his freedom. Maybe this is where the old saying, “Love is blind” comes from.
- David’s desire for Bathsheba led him to murder and a family disaster, the death of his infant son. A fatal attraction indeed!
- Herod longed to protect his earthly reign so much so that he slaughtered all the innocent babies under 2 years old in Bethlehem. Self-centeredness taken to an evil extreme…
Are you convinced that self-centeredness costs too much?
If we would just learn to take God at His word, we would not have our own list of self-centered stories that cost us a high price and even others around us.
Maybe it is time that we stop the struggle, face the undesirable feelings of facing our self-centeredness, and go back to the basics of trusting God with everything, even our personal desires and longings.
Lord God Almighty,
I pray this prayer for myself knowing that if anyone else is willing to, they can pray it for themselves. Lord, at times I have deceived myself and believed that I fully trusted You when at the very same time, I fought for my own way and unknowingly attempted to dethrone You. Forgive me for letting my desires and longings rise above Your knowledge and Your best for me. Forgive me for not fully trusting You and disguising it as something else. Help me learn the safety of relinquishing my hopes, dreams, and desires fully to You and rest in Your pure and perfect love. In Jesus name, Amen.