Jesus gave us this principle that is basic for anyone in the kingdom of God. The Scripture teaches us that self-will is something with which each of us must contend. We have a tendency to have an inflated view of ourselves. When a person is living for self, he thinks the whole world revolves around him and his particular needs. This is the very opposite of God’s will for our lives.
We can fall into this pit of self so easily — self-pity, self-defense, self-gratification. But, the more we feed self, the less there is of Christ. The crucified saint reveals Christ far more than the self-ruled saint. Mortification precedes exaltation. One of the enemy’s greatest deceptions is that we can live okay while forgetting about or ignoring God. This is foolish thinking! A self-commending, self-promoting individual is never a Christ-approved individual.
Self rules in the unsaved world and dictates how people live and think. Christ gave Himself to deliver us from this evil world system. If we want to amount to anything in Christ’s kingdom, we must first realize that we are nothing, and have no ability to do His will apart from Him. While being yoked to Jesus lightens our load, whenever we’re serving self even God’s Word and Will become burdens or seem like intruders.
Saints, life in the Spirit is only difficult when we “play God” instead of submitting to Him. Of course there is pain involved, but that is the flesh rebelling against the Spirit. The walk of love is one where self is sacrificed, not fed. If Jesus loved the Church so much that He would give Himself for it, can’t you and I do the same? Self wants a reputation; servants don’t. Self-exaltation is devilish, and entangling oneself with this world is displeasing to the Lord!
If we are to be fit for the Master’s use, self must be purged, not pampered.
We’ve been redeemed from “self-service” for God’s service! Of course this life in the Spirit will create some opposition because we choose to live an unspotted life. To abide triumphantly as Jesus did, we must walk as He walked. To be able to say from the heart, “Nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will“, Lord is the key to the abundant life.
In each battle, in each temptation, follow our Lord’s pattern of submission — the garden, the cross, then the crown. It’s the only way to serve God and defeat self.