I'm struggling with my sin today. I don't understand why I can't just run away from it. Why can't I resist the temptation, flee, purge myself of this ugliness?
My sin is me. My selfishness. My pride. My hard heart. It's hard to run away from yourself. It's hard to deny your own thoughts. Why is it so difficult to escape the self? How can I be confident that God has got my back and not worry about what is fair? I tell my kids all the time, "life is not fair." Yet, truthfully, I still struggle with this myself. I have so many excuses as to why I struggle with it. Our culture and society, our marketing and advertising, Facebook and Instagram. Everything I see and look at around me tells me I have a right to have it all and think of me first. Though, knowing those excuses, doesn't really help me do better. The verse Luke 9:23 comes to my mind, "Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”
Deny myself. How do I really accomplish that? How do I purge the thoughts of what about me? When's it my turn to relax? If I give and give, who will give to me? I want to enjoy that, too. I don't want to forgive again. All those thoughts can be so consuming, making me feel as if I will drown in them.
First, I know when I haven't spent time with the Lord, my selfishness rises so easily to the surface. He does have my back, and when I give him my time, He always gives me so much more. I have to remind myself, that the things I struggle with, often put me on my knees in prayer more than once. Sometimes hourly shouts for help are needed, but I can't make those shouts if He is not my focus, and He will not be my focus if I don't spend time with him.
Secondly, when I am reminded of some of my heroes in faith, my perspective is shifted. George Mueller, Gladys Alward, Bruce Olson, Amy Carmichael, and my mom, to name a few. All these peoples' lives are marked with selflessness. Not just thinking of others first, but loving them more than themselves. I am reminded of another verse, "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” John 15:13. To mark the world as these people have is a gift that I can only dream of. (If you don't recognize some of those names I encourage you to find out about their lives.)
Thirdly, knowing that I have an adversary out there who wants me to drown in my thoughts of self, is eye opening. We are not alone in this world, there is a roaring lion prowling around ready to devour us. I can not forget him. When I dwell on me, he rejoices. I do not want to be responsible for his celebration. I do not want to give him a foothold into me. I do not want him to have any success.
My selfishness is not going to go away, I'm sure I will struggle with it until the day I die, but naming it and becoming aware of it are the first steps to my freedom. So, when you approach me and find me on my knees in prayer, you will know that I am asking God for forgiveness and His help to conquer this sin. His Grace is sufficient for all and He is mighty in power. He is who I want to serve, not myself.
2 Corinthians 12:9