under a special agreement with
presents "New Life in Christ" Course 3
under a special agreement with
The most terrible thing in the universe is sin!
Lucifer was the wisest and most beautiful angel ever created, but sin changed him into Satan, the enemy of God and the enemy of man. Sin separated Adam and Eve from their loving Creator. And sin turned men who were created in the image of God into slaves of sin and Satan.
Because He hates sin so much, God wants us to be delivered from its power. In our last lesson we learned that, in Christ, we have been delivered from the kingdom of darkness. Sin has no right to reign over us, because we are no longer in the kingdom where sin reigns.
But sin has many ways of keeping us in its power and one of these is through "the flesh." The flesh is our sinful human nature. It is what we are apart from God.
One form of the flesh is Self. If you take the word "flesh" and drop the "h" and spell it backwards, what do you have? You have Self!
What does it mean to have Self on the throne of our heart? It means that we are self-centered, and that we want to have our own way.
How Did We Become Self-Centered?
The first man, Adam, was created in the image of God. He loved God and wanted to do His will. He was a God-centered man. God was King upon the throne of His heart.
But when Adam was tempted, he chose to disobey God. Adam took God off the throne of his heart and put Self there. This was a great sin.
Later on Adam died, but he passed his sinful, self-centered nature onto his children and to the whole human race. Adam produced a race of people like himself—a people ruled by Self. Man was created to love and worship God, but now he loved and worshipped himself. Instead of wanting God's way, we want our own way. The Bible says,
"…we have turned every one to HIS OWN WAY…" Isaiah 53:6
What Happens When We Are Born Again?
Another Person comes to live in our heart—the Lord Jesus Christ. This is wonderful, but even after we are born again we still have that old sinful nature called "the flesh." Self wants to continue ruling and this creates a problem, since both Christ and Self cannot rule.
Christ alone has the right to rule in our life, but Self will still try to rule. Every Christian must choose whether he will be ruled by Christ or by Self. Both cannot rule. We must choose one or the other.
Before we make this decision, let us see what our lives are like when we are ruled by Self. Here are some of the ways Self manifests itself in us:
The person we love more than anyone else in the world is ourselves. We want others to look up to us and honor us. No matter what happens we look out for ourselves.
Who is the most important person in the world to us? Ourself! No name is so sweet to our ears as our own name. We brag about ourselves and like to impress others how important we are.
We feel sorry for ourselves when things don't go to suit us. We are easily "hurt." We think that we have a much harder time than others.
Are we always wanting something we do not have? Do we complain and are we dissatisfied with what we have? This is another way Self expresses itself.
We like to talk about the sins of others and condemn them, but we don't see our own faults. This is another thing we do when Self is ruling in our heart.
Are we one of those who will never admit we are wrong? Do we always defend ourselves and blame others? If so, this is a sure sign that Self is on the throne of our heart.
Self causes some people to push themselves to the front. Maybe we are not like this. Perhaps we are one of those who say that we cannot do anything. We say, "Let somebody else do it. I can't do it well enough." This is just another form of Self.
We want our own way. We don't like to take orders from anyone—not even from God Himself. When we are rebellious against God, we are controlled by Satan.
Where did we get this spirit of self will? We got it from Satan. Satan was the first rebel. He said, "I will exalt my throne above the stars of God." Then Adam said in his heart, "I will have my own way." Now, you and I say, "I will have my way."
Self will Never Obey God
Self has many different ways of manifesting itself, but its attitude toward God never changes. Self will not submit to God or obey Him. The Bible says,
"The sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. " Romans 8:7 (NIV)
Self is Our Enemy
Have you seen how sinful it is to be ruled by Self? We are not only unhappy ourselves, but we make others around us unhappy also. When we are ruled by Self, we commit many sins. Even though we have been delivered from the kingdom of darkness, sin still has power over us so long as we let Self rule in our life.
Now we come to a very important question. How can we be delivered from the rule of Self? First, let us see what God did about our self-life.
God Crucified Us with Christ
Because our self-life was so hateful to God, He had to do something about it. What did God do? He crucified us with Christ!
God dealt with Self by putting us in Christ on the cross. When He was crucified, we were crucified with Him.
How could we be crucified with Christ? It might help us to understand this if we consider an illustration. Let us take a piece of paper and cut out a little man. Now take the little man and place him in a book.
The little man is now in the book. Suppose we place the book on a table. Where is the little man? He is also on the table because he is in the book. Suppose we put the book on the floor. Where is the little man now? He is on the floor. Suppose we place the book on top of the piano. Where is the little man now? He is on the piano.
Now suppose we wrap the book with the little man in it and send it to another country. What happens to the little man ? He goes to the other country also because he is in the book. Or again, suppose we hold the book under water. What happens to the little man? He goes under the water also. Whatever happens to the book happens also to the little man because he is in the book.
When God saved us He put us in Christ on the cross. What happened to Christ happened also to us because we were in Christ. When He was crucified, we were crucified with Him; when He died, we died with Him, and when He rose again, we rose again with Him. The Apostle Paul said,
"I have been crucified with Christ." Galatians 2:20
What was true of the Apostle Paul is also true of us as Christians. Christ died for us, and we died with Him.
These are two great facts which are true of every Christian.
Why did God crucify us with Christ? He crucified us with Christ SO THAT WE MIGHT NO LONGER BE RULED BY SELF. The Bible says,
"For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin…" Romans 6:6 (NIV)
Christ is Our New Master
God not only dealt with our self-life, but He also gave us a new Master. Our new Master is Christ. He has come to live in our heart, and He is Lord of our life. The Bible says,
"For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living." Romans 14:9
When Christ rules as King in our heart, the Holy Spirit produces His life in us. The Bible tells us how His life manifests itself.
"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance (self-control)…" Galatians 5:22-23
How Can I be Delivered From My Self-life?
Now we come back to the question: How can I be delivered from the rule of Self? Three steps are necessary if we want to have victory over Self.
We must deny Self.
If we want to follow the Lord, we must take Self off the throne of our heart. We must make this choice that we will no longer be ruled by Self. It must be "Not I, but Christ." The Lord Jesus said,
"If any man will come after Me, let him DENY HIMSELF…" Luke 9:23
We must count on our standing in Christ.
God put us in Christ on the cross. When He was crucified, we were crucified with Him. This is our standing in Christ, and we must count on it. The Bible says,
"…reckon yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus." Romans 6:11
To "reckon" means to count on a fact. Are we counting on the fact that we were crucified with Christ? If so, then let us put our signature to this statement:
"I have been crucified with Christ."
We must surrender to Christ.
Christ is our new Master. We must live for Him and not for ourselves.
The Bible says,
"For the love of Christ controls us, since we have concluded this, that Christ died for all; therefore all have died. And he died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised." 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 (NET Bible)
Our surrender to the Lord Jesus is a once-for-all giving of ourselves to Him followed by a daily giving of ourselves to Him. Daily, we must say "No" to Self and "Yes" to the Lord Jesus. The Lord Jesus said,
"If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross DAILY, and follow me." Luke 9:23
What is Your Choice?
Are you ready to make Jesus Christ the Lord of all in your life?
Are you determined to obey Him whatever it may cost? Do you choose to say "No" to Self and surrender your life to Christ? If this is your decision, you can tell Him this right now.
Here is a prayer that will help you: