The god of ME

The God of Me

Phil 2:5-8 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross!

Surveys show that most people feel pretty good about themselves; especially in our society. In a recent study, a standardized math test was given to teenagers from six different nations. Besides the math questions, the test asked the youngsters to respond “yes or no” to the question, "I am good at mathematics." The American students had the lowest scores on the math questions, far behind Korean students, who had the top scores. Ironically, 68 percent of the American students believed their math skills were just fine. Our kids may be failing math, but they obviously feel good about themselves.

Morally, our culture has the same mindset. Cumulative evidence strongly suggests that American society is at an all-time moral low. We might expect people’s self-esteem to be suffering as well. However, statistics shows Americans are feeling better about themselves than ever. In a survey conducted in 1940 11 percent of women and 20 percent of men agreed with the statement, "I am an important person." In the 1990s, those figures jumped to 66 percent of women and 62 percent of men. In a recent Gallup Poll, 90 percent of people surveyed said their own sense of self-esteem is robust and healthy. Incredibly, while the moral fabric of society is unraveling, self-esteem is thriving. All the positive thinking about ourselves seems futile in elevating the culture or motivating people to live better lives.

The self-esteem movement is a demonic religion of the god of me. It supports the attitude that I am the most important person and what concerns me should be important to everyone else. The concerns of others are of little importance unless I agree with them. Self-esteem teaches there are no bad people, just good people who feel badly about themselves. I’m OK, you’re OK.

However, in Romans 3:23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”

Truthfully, man has no difficulty loving himself, excusing himself, and blaming others. The real problem is the difficulty of acknowledging God and truly loving Him with all our heart, mind, soul and strength. We are in a perpetual war between the demonic god of me and Almighty God.

Matt 22:37-38    Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment.

Our need is not for greater "self-esteem" but for a realization of the need to esteem God. Our need is not for a confident "self-sufficiency," but to understand that our sufficiency is in the Lord.

2 Cor 3:5 Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.

Christian, are there areas of your life where you are counting on self more than you are the Lord? The god of me is independent and defiant, declaring, “I am my own boss! I will make up my own mind.” A person with this attitude is following Lucifer, not Jesus, but this demon god camouflages itself, calling itself “freedom.” In America, we agree with the concept of freedom and being free. We are an easy prey for this idol.

Therefore, this god of me gives us an inflated view of ourselves. This causes us to subconsciously place ourselves above God, and by doing so, we think and act as if we are more important than God. We don’t really need Him because we have it all figured out. We have become our own god. Consequently, we are following Lucifer.

Is it possible that some of us are in this position? Maybe when we first gave ourselves to Jesus, we placed Him high and were willing to serve Him daily at any cost. We placed Him over ourselves in all matters and the only thing that we truly cared about was pleasing Him and serving Him.

And just like in our earthly relationships, we slowly began to place ourselves a little higher each day. We slowly placed ourselves higher than God. We justify our wants and desires, if they are in conflict with God’s Word. We say things like; I need to sleep in on Sundays, I don’t have time to pray and speak to God today, I don’t feel like reading the Bible, and want to watch this or that on television. We tell ourselves that God understands and He doesn’t care if we ignore Him.

Let me ask you this. How would your husband or wife or best friend feel if you simply didn’t feel like talking to them one day because you were too pre-occupied with something else? Or you are just too busy to spend any time with them because you would rather spend your time away from them doing something else? How would you feel if you were treated that way?

Likewise, God desires to have an active, intimate relationship with us. He desires to spend time with us in prayer, in His Word, and throughout the day. If we place our own desires above God’s, our relationship will ultimately be strained. When we make ourselves the center of things, it usually leads to regret, disappointment, and depression. These emotions drive us into more immorality in an attempt to feel better.

 2 Tim 3:1-2 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,

When we inflate ourselves above God, we not only view ourselves incorrectly, we also view God incorrectly. We have a deflated view of God. For example, whenever we see man’s concept of God, we see Him depicted as an old man with a white beard. That is a deflated image of God. God is Spirit, omnipotent, omnipresent, and that is why He says not to make any image of Him. Any image would be insufficient to describe God.

 Furthermore, most people have accepted into their lives words such as: “fate”, “luck”, and “chance”. By accepting these concepts, we are in a sense saying that God’s will for our lives is non-existent, and that God is powerless when it comes to what we do in life. We are declaring that God has no control in our lives and that life is all about me. I am my own god. I determine my fate, instead of “if the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that”. (James 4:15)

Therefore, we rely on others and technology more than we do on God and His ultimate power. Problems arise in our lives, and we think they all can be solved by simply doing a web search, or going to an advice column, or visiting a psychologist. What ever happened to taking it to God and seeking His guidance to our problems in life? Have we lost our faith in God and in His promises to us?

Luke 11:9 "So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”

Don’t we still believe that God answers prayer?

Matthew 21:22 “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”

When it comes to prayer, we use a lot of religious talk, but do we truly believe? Maybe our egos have become so great that we have inflated ourselves above God and His promises? Maybe we have deflated our view of God so much that we doubt Him and His promises.

During prayer, the arrogant and impatient “god of me” tells Almighty God what we want and then we go forward with our plans. We do not wait for His answer. We don’t need it. We will just do it.

The demonic god of me says that no matter what else is going on in the world, make your SELF a priority! If you don’t, nobody else will! As a Christian, we know that is a lie. However, we believe another lie from the god of me—the idea that if we honor God, He will reward us with a better lifestyle than those who don’t obey Him. Otherwise, what benefit is it to me to serve God.

This love of self makes it hard for us to put into practice verses like Romans 12:9-10, “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”

For a Christian, sin should be unthinkable, something we hate. If God is our all in all, then whatever runs contrary to Him should not even be an option for us.

However, if the god of me rules, sin might be undesirable, but it isn’t unthinkable. Abortion, or greed, or adultery, or dishonesty...all of these things are undesirable. But, if they help me maintain my lifestyle, if they give me pleasure, if they help me retain power, if they help cover up my sin, they remain justifiable. To the god of me, the end justifies the means.

Ps 36:2 For in his own eyes he flatters himself too much to detect or hate his sin.

Quite regularly, the god of me says, “You owe it to do this, to buy this, to experience this.” God’s will may be good thing, even a desirable thing, but it is still treated as one of several options by the person ruled by the god of me. The idea of putting anything above our own desire--is the unthinkable option to the person in love with the god of me.

We are all tempted by this god of me. It tells us we can “have our cake and eat it too.” However, we cannot serve two gods. A Christian lives his life in full submission to Jesus Christ. If we are not in full submission to Christ, we are serving the devil. You see, the god of me is a tool of satan. If we could unmask this god of me, we would see a demonic spirit.

James 4:7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

The god of me within us has a huge problem with the word “submit.” We have an innate repulsion to the concept of submission. The god of me has lied about what submission means. Therefore, let’s consider what submission is not and what it is.

Submission is NOT self-hatred. Many believe the lie that if you give in to someone else, you are guilty of hating yourself. That is not self-hatred; it is courtesy, love of others, and unselfishness.

Other people have tried to practice submission by always treating their own thoughts, dreams, and talents as if they are worthless. God does not believe we are worthless. Christ died because He knows we are worth saving, so He submitted to death on a Cross. Submitting to God is not self-hatred; it is denying the god of me daily and dying to self-worship.

Submission is NOT a loss of freedom. Though we would readily say we are servants or slaves of Christ, we become this by our own choosing, and if at any moment we decide to walk away from God, we can. Many believe that submitting means you no longer have any input, but that you are entirely at the mercy of others. God wants our input. That is why He desires our continuous prayers and petitions. This is an intimate relationship, not a dogmatic religion.

Submission is NOT a loss of purpose. Submission is a fearful idea to the god of me, because we think that giving up control of our life means that we can never discover our purpose or have a full and meaningful life. The god of me thinks there could be nothing worse than submitting to anyone. What we discover in Christ, is that submission is the path to freedom and fulfillment.

Submission is a spiritual discipline. All disciplines exist to produce freedoms. A person who practices a musical instrument with great discipline gains the freedom to perform beautiful songs when the occasion arises. Techniques, scales, and repetitions are sometimes dry and frustrating, but the freedom to perform comes from the discipline of practice. The same is true of sports training or any other skill that is developed.

The spiritual disciplines are not ends in themselves. It is a great thing to pray often. However, the goal of prayer is not just that we pray. Prayer helps us discover God’s will for our life, while God forms our heart to be more like His. The discipline of prayer gives us the freedom to think more like God thinks.

Similarly, worship, fellowship, and Scripture reading are spiritual disciplines to help shape us. They are not the goal; but are a means to a greater goal—to be conformed to the image of Christ.

By submission, we are free from the burden of always having to get our own way. Joseph is a good example. Joseph continued to submit to God’s will long after it appeared that there was no benefit to submitting to God.

Joseph tried to share his God-given dreams with his family, and they hated him for it. His brothers sold him into slavery, but Joseph didn’t lose faith in God. He maintained his integrity. As a result, he became the manager of his master’s estate and Potiphar prospered under Joseph’s management. When Potiphar’s wife commanded him to have sex with her, Joseph could have done it and rationalized he was obeying her. But, Joseph refused, obeyed God, and maintained his integrity. He got punished anyway, thrown into prison for several years.

Even in prison, he could have become bitter and forsaken God to become his own god. Joseph had a choice, and he chose God. In the most unexpected turn of events, God enabled him to interpret dreams, and he ended up second in command over the Egypt. But even then, he didn’t let his success convince him that he no longer needed God to sustain him. He forgave his brothers, and showed them mercy instead of vengeance.

Through all that happened, Joseph submitted himself to God. So much of Joseph’s life involved him NOT getting his way. He didn’t want to be a slave, he didn’t want to go to jail, he didn’t want lies spread about him. But by giving God control, he was able to live free from the burden of always insisting on getting his own way, and he saved the lives of his family and an entire nation.

I wonder how much unhappiness we experience because we always have to get what we want, when we want it. It takes an awful lot of energy to be our own god. What if we would submit to Jesus, and accept that it’s ok for us not to always get exactly what we want?

By submitting ourselves to God, we are also free to love other people. It is so liberating to love someone without demanding they love us in return. We don’t have to be treated a certain way. We can celebrate with others when they have good news without comparing ourselves to them. We can give without expecting anything in return. If we have the mindset that our way doesn’t have to be the only way, it frees us to be happy for someone else whose way does succeed. Bitterness and anger no longer control us when someone doesn’t act toward us the way that they should.

Submission doesn’t mean that our feelings, opinions, or talents don’t matter. It means that our confidence and security are in Christ. We can choose to love others, even if they don’t acknowledge it.

 In submission, we are free to discover God’s purpose for our life. Whether we speak of Moses, Elijah, Jeremiah, Ruth, Esther, Peter or Paul...who of these people didn’t find their greatest purpose in life by submitting and giving God control rather than putting themselves first?

There is no greater example of submission than Christ himself. Let’s read the text again.

 Phil 2:5-8 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross!

In Jesus’ life, there were no parts of His life off limits to God the Father. In full submission to the Father, he accomplished the greatest good the world has ever seen. Our challenge is to be more like him.

The only thing stopping us from being like Jesus is the god of me. That demonic “god” persists in occupying the throne of our heart. It must be dethroned daily to follow Jesus.

Luke 9:23-24 Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.

Christian, have you allowed the god of me to re-establish his kingdom in your life? If so, confess this sin and repent. Deny that god of me every day, pick up your cross, and begin following Jesus again.