From one SELF to another

 

I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is over self.Aristotle

 

In the contemporary church culture self has been exalted as a god. We worship the mirror far more than we carry The Cross. We are more concerned about our image as a Christian than we are about our internal substance before God. This is clear because almost every Christian says that they believe Jesus to be their Lord and Savior but some of their lives are in stark contrast to the commands of Him who they claim to follow. Scripture says we cannot love God and hate our brother yet how many Christians do this very thing? They sing to God on Sunday morning about how they love Him and then spend the afternoon slandering their brother or sister in Christ for doing something that was not Christ like. I am not making this stuff up; I have regrettably been a part of these conversations.

We must get to the place as a body of believers where we care enough about the truth that we toss our phony faith away and look to The Cross. Looking like you are following Christ is not the same thing as following him. Going to Church, reading the Bible, or feeding the homeless can be some of the greatest things you can do for your relationship with God or they can be vain religious acts that are done to fulfill your need to belong. What would be harder for you to do; announce to everyone in the church the biggest struggle in your life or refrain from seeking the Lord for a week? When you can honestly answer this question you are becoming aware of where you’re at. Most Christians are so terrified of what other people think about them that they have prevented God from showing what he thinks about them. They are in the right place but serving the wrong master. In this trap, they believe they are serving God but they are really in the service of their own Christian image, or self.

This mentality is destructive. It portrays maturity, strength, and spiritual fervor on the surface and cleverly conceals its true identity on the inside. It is similar to the way a girdle works. On the outside the one who wears the girdle looks thinner than they really are. The person who wears a girdle does so for looks, not to actually become thinner. If they wanted to become thinner they would know that a piece of fabric holding their stomach would not keep their stomach looking thin once the material is removed. A person who wants to lose weight must have a lifestyle change in the form of diet and exercise, just as a person seeking Christ must also have a lifestyle change that is deeper than the external. Another example is a going over to a house for a dinner party. The house looks pristine from the dinner table but you start looking around and find that all the garbage is pilled in the garage, all the dirty clothes are stuffed in closets, and the only reason it doesn’t smell like road kill is because they doused the entire house with Febreeze before you arrived. The house only appears pristine, but in reality it is putrid.  Most of us want the benefits of Christianity in the form of comfort, fellowship, and purpose without the hard things like commitment, discipline, and sacrifice but it does not work like that. We can continue this game of pretend if we like but it is getting us nowhere. If you go into churches today how many people are strapping their spiritual girdle on and walking into the building? I would bet it is a large portion. The reason everyone is wearing their spiritual girdle is because they want to protect their image of self, which ironically, is the very reason why they cannot gain freedom from many of the things they are trying to hide. If one would just decide to come to the house of God without this mask on they would have conquered more than most; they would have conquered self.

Let us not lead false lives but dwell in the Knowledge of God. We must admit that we are not “all together” and we have issues that need attention. The body is sick with its self love and enslavement to the opinion of man and not God. We all speak like we are champions but past the surface are different stories. A dangerous lie to tell is actually a truth; a truth that is spoken lofty on the lips and lowly in the life; for you have not lied to others by speaking this truth but by making them believe that you believe it. I for one want to live a life out from under the shadow of deception that shrouds many church halls today; a life that desires true communion with God not an excuse to be accepted. It is time Church.

Hypocrite

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