Today I came to the end of myself.
You know that place? The place where you’re convinced that the more
you insist on your own rights, the more frustrated you will be. The
place where you realize that the more you pursue life for yourself, the
further from Christ you will be. The place where you ultimately realize
there must be more of Jesus and less of you.
For so long my life
has consisted of wanting more of everything else… more time, more
money, more energy, more creativity, more discipline, more willpower,
Yet the only thing I really need more of is Jesus. And I definitely need less of me.
a long time, it’s been about equal in my life. Half Jesus. Half me. But
Jesus wants me to be all Him. He demands and deserves to be the sole
deity in my life. He isn’t interested in a dual reign or a joint
Jesus said it Himself. “No one can serve two
masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will
be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and
wealth” (Matthew 6:24, NIV).
You cannot serve God and self, either.
also said in Matthew 16:24 “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must
deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” But what does it
mean to deny myself? How can you and I deny ourselves in a society that
shouts “Love your body” “Love Yourself” and ”Love Your Selfie!”? How can
you and I, like John the Baptist, live by the motto “He must increase,
but I must decrease” (John 3:30,NASB)?
It means reversing the
way we naturally think and act. It means putting Christ in the place
where we would normally put ourselves. It means having:
- Less concern for how others see you and more concern for how others see Jesus.
- Less focus on what you deserve from others and more focus on what you owe Christ.
- Less preoccupation with your perceived rights and more focus on what it means to be a servant of God.
So what does that look like in a practical way? As I began to flesh it
out I found there was less focus on my flesh and more focus on Him. I
couldn’t help but want more of Jesus and less of me. You can train your
heart to do the same as you practice these five steps:
1. Find Your Identity – and Worth – in Him.
easy to find our self worth in our education, accomplishments, titles
and positions. We can even find our self worth in our possessions – the
higher the salary, the nicer the car, and the bigger the home, the more
successful you must be. But the Apostle Paul said “I count everything as
loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord…”
(Philippians 3:8, ESV). Our identity and worth must be rooted in the
fact that we are sinners saved by the grace of Jesus Christ alone,
adopted into His family, and called His children. You and I are redeemed
slaves, orphans who have been adopted and called heirs, beggars who
have been given a seat at His table. That reminder alone keeps us from
exalting ourselves over God and others, and makes us aware that
everything we have has been given to us.
2. Forfeit Your Will to His.
marching order as a follower of Christ is spelled out in Galatians
2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who
live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh
I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for
me.“ This life is not your own. So if you’ve died to self, there’s no
more of you – only Him living through you. With each choice that comes
your way, you exercise more of Him and less of you when you ask “God,
how would you decide this? What would You want? I’m Yours, so the choice
is Yours, too.”
3. Fill Up on His Thoughts, Not Yours.
and I must be fully saturated in the Word of God or we will let the
godless philosophies of this world govern our hearts and minds. And
that’s another way to have more of us and less of Him. Romans 12:2
instructs us not to be conformed to this world but to be transformed by
the renewing of our minds so that we can prove what the perfect will of
God is. What fills your thoughts each day? God’s Word or the words of
people? Praises for Him or the proud, lustful, me-first lyrics of music
that dominates the airwaves? What you focus your mind on will determine
if there’s more of Jesus or more of you.
4. Filter Your Behavior.
where we need the Holy Spirit’s help. Throughout God’s Word we are told
to control our speech, our thought life, and our actions. As we let no
unwholesome talk come out of our mouths (Ephesians 4:29), we are acting
more like Jesus than ourselves. As we focus on whatever is true, noble,
right, pure, lovely, and admirable (Philippians 4:8), we’ll be focusing
on God, not ourselves. As we are quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow
to anger (James 1:19), we will take in more information and think more
carefully before responding. That is exercising more of the wisdom of
Jesus and less of the foolishness of ourselves.
5. Focus on the New You, Not the Old One.
many times have you heard a follower of Christ excuse their outburst of
anger, their rudeness, or their foolish or dysfunctional behavior by
saying “I’m sorry. I’m just that way.” To have more of Jesus and less of
you is to realize that Jesus died to make the you that is just that
way, become just like Him. If you’ve surrendered your life to Christ and
possess His divine nature, you have more of a potential within you to
be like Jesus than to be like your own earthly parents. So live as the
new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). The old you is gone. The new you –
consumed by Christ – has come.
[written by Cindi McMenamin]