God's Remedy for SELF

SELFIES, SELFism, SELF-esteem, SELF-reliance, SELF-indulgence, SELF-promotion, and SELF-focus. Have you seen enough of the word SELF? You have probably seen enough of it from others, but have you seen enough of it in yourself? If it is “all-about-you,” then you never tire of hearing your name mentioned.

It would take some time, but there are so many Bible verses which directly or indirectly refer to SELF. Note just a few:

“But in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”
Matthew 15.8-9

…walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness…presumptuous…and self-willed…
2 Peter 2.2,10

…will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears…turned away from truth to fables…
2 Timothy 4.3-4

…who trusted themselves that they were righteous…
Luke 18.9

…lovers of self…
2 Timothy 3.2

For if a man thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.
Galatians 6.2-3

…Exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped the creature rather than the Creator…
Romans 1.25

Had enough of SELF? The point is, descriptions of you and me are in at least one of those passages. Therefore, if you have had enough of SELF being mentioned or implied in those passages, what is the remedy of such a seemingly gross love for SELF?

The Bible provides the remedy. It does not give SELF another name for justification or approval. It describes SELF as the problem which must be removed and overcome. After 2 Timothy 3.2 spoke of the main characteristic of the “last days” as “men shall be lovers of self,” not the powerful, plain words of v. 5: “…and from such people turn away.” The reason for turning away from them is because they deny the power of God (v. 5), and believe more in their own power. They accept the power of SELF, but restrain the power of God. How do you turn away from YOU when your SELF is what you exalt so highly above God? In other words, what can God do to YOU in order for YOU to “live with yourSELF?”

Exalt God.

The selfless belief and practice of honoring and placing attention upon God is how one should turn away from SELF. “I will extol thee, O Lord; for thou has raised me up, and hast not made my foes to rejoice over me. O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me. O Lord, you have brought up my soul from Sheol; you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit. Sing praises to the Lord, O you His saints, and give thanks to His holy name” (Psalm 30.1-4). Praising God is not what a SELFIE does. Matthew 22.37 is what putting away SELF will do - love God, not SELF. The question you may often ask will change. No longer will it be “What do I want?” but “What does God want?”

It is so easy to worship the creature rather than the Creator and think of ourselves first, looking out for “#1,” because we are told, “No one else will.” Nebuchadnezzar did that. He built himself into a god and soon ended up less than a man (Daniel 4). He realized he was not the “center of the universe.” All of life is about God, not SELF (Colossians 3.17).

Identify Yourself with Christ.

Galatians 2.20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I that live, but Christ liveth in me: and the life I now live in the flesh I live in faith, the faith which is the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself up for me.” This is how we should be identified as a disciple of Christ. Christ living through me, not me expressing all I want to be. The apostle even stated in 1 Corinthians 11.1, “Be ye imitators of me, as I also am of Christ.” 

Instead of being identified by your clothes, attitude, achievements, talents, and work (which sometimes bring jealousy of others or the belief that others are jealous of you), we are identified by faith in Jesus. This is where our hearts identify the purpose for which we have been born - not to grab everything we are big enough to obtain, but to see our greatest value is in Christ. Seek your validation in HIM, not in your SELFIE or your “likes.” Our thoughts should be as the hymn implores: “In Christ alone my hope is found, H his my life, my strength, my song; This cornerstone, this solid ground, firm through the fiercest drought and storm…” (Ephesians 2.10).

Minister to others.

We are greatest as servants (Matthew 20.28), just as Jesus was when He lived on the earth. Jesus left heaven to provide us a pattern of selflessness which God exalted, not the number of friends he might gain from healing and feeding people (Philippians 2.2-8; James 4.10).

The interest we need to have is: Where and how can I do the most good in this world to point others to Jesus, not me? This was the same attitude Jesus had. He was pointing everyone to God. He said, “And this is life eternal, that they should know Thee the only true God, and Him whomThou didst send, even Jesus Christ. I glorified Thee on the earth, having accomplished the work which Thou has given me to do” (John 17.3-4).

Instead of crying out, “What about me!” or “Me too!” Jesus’ attitude was always, “What about others?” Instead of fantasizing about power, success, and attractiveness, He served. We should get up and be the workmanship God created us to be. Rather than watch and want people to serve you, look at what you can do for God in what you do for others. Then when you serve, do not turn and look at yourself in the mirror, saying, “I did good today!” Thank God for the privilege of doing good and be a blessing to others. This is how you appreciate the image of God place in SELF without having a SELFIE image.