It’s estimated that the average person speaks about nine million words a year, and more than half are, ‘I, me, my, mine.’ But following Christ means dying to self, and self-centredness doesn’t give up without a fight. That’s why Paul writes that we need to nail our sinful desires to Christ’s cross and kill them off. Self-interest won’t just roll over and die; it must be killed. And it’s a daily battle, because we have a tendency to cling to our own interests with a death grip.
Jesus told His disciples, ‘Whoever desires to be first… let him be your slave.’ (Matthew 20:27 NKJV) In those days a slave was on the lowest rung of the ladder of household servants. That means you have been called to sacrifice your own interests in order to serve others. And if He has to, God will leave you with ‘a reminder’ of what it took to get through to you in your particular areas of stubbornness and self-centredness.
For example, after his encounter with God, Jacob walked with a limp, but it was a constant reminder of his total dependence on God. And the great apostle Paul writes, ‘To keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh.’ (2 Corinthians 12:7 NLT)
What’s your handicap? A habit you battle? A fear that dogs your tracks? A difficult relationship? A financial shortfall? A physical ailment? Why doesn’t God just take it away? Because He considers anything that makes you more dependent on Him and less dependent on yourself, a plus, and not a minus.