Surrendered Self (Selfishness)

This morning my eleven year old son asked why most families “had a divorce”. My immediate response was the usual one, which is that most people don’t want to stick with it when it gets hard and hurts. I tried to go on to explain that we have to love the Lord more, but I lost his interest by that time. Then as we were sitting in our quiet time during worship, listening for the Lord to speak to us, I felt the Lord tell me that it was due to “selfishness” that so many families are broken by divorce.

    All sin comes out of our selfishness. It is our “self centered-ness”, rather than “Christ Centered-ness”, that results in our sin. Our flesh is what causes us to wear our feelings on our sleeves and get our emotions hurt in relationships. When we focus on ourselves and our own interests, rather than those of the Lord and/or our spouse, we open the door to our flesh and the enemy. In order for ANY relationship to work (including our relationship with the Lord), we must put others before ourselves. We must die to “self” to walk in Christ, and love unselfishly, in Godly love. Our flesh will cry out for satisfaction, but it is the Spirit that we must submit to and satisfy.

    Our flesh cries out to be justified and be “right.” We must lay down our flesh at the feet of the Lord, along with our “right to be right.” The Lord will justify us according to His will, not ours. We need to know we are right with Him, and He will justify us with men, including our spouse. This was a very hard lesson I graduated from after years of “going around the mountain”. Along with my “right to be right,” I had to lay down my “right to be heard and understood,” even if I was wrong. Sometimes I think the second lesson was harder than the first, but the last bit of those “rights” were laid at the foot of the cross and the burden is no longer mine to bear.

    It is amazing how much weight those rights had to them. When we give lives over to the Lord, we are to lay all of our “rights” down at His feet. We know this in our “head,” but how long does it take for the heart to obey? The timing is different for each believer and disciple of Christ. Some may lay it down all at once first thing, and for others it is a process with many phases or layers like an onion. Each one must be peeled individually to expose the new “flesh” to be dealt with. With each new layer comes a new death and another VICTORY!!! I know I am not the same person today I was last year, last month, or even last week. I pray I continue to grow in the Spirit and surrender more each day.

    The last week was a hard one for my flesh. My injuries from my accident a year ago were acting up, and my flesh came out through my pain. I realized how much of my flesh was still alive in me and how much I truly needed the Grace of the Lord in my life. My flesh is very weak, but my Spirit is strong. But in order for me to draw strength from the Spirit, I need to be in prayer and devotions. I have to admit that during my time of weakness, it was neither prayer nor devotion time that my flesh was seeking. Instead, I “needed to” sleep late to heal my body, and I snapped at my family unnecessarily because I didn’t feel good. But by his Grace I kept pushing through and asking for forgiveness and strength, holding onto Him and knowing it would get better.

    I think I have made it through this period of ‘re-cycling’ as my doctor calls it, when my injuries seem to get worse for a short period of time, before rebounding back to a more stable point of recovery. And through it I have been reminded of how weak my flesh truly is and how much I need His Grace DAILY in my life.

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