Know HIS Ways……………

————–the Lord stood on a wall made with a plumb line

The Issue of Self (Part I)

Written By: Karline Fischer - Dec• 10•18

We live in a culture that makes it all about self; it’s all about our dreams, activities, career, accomplishments, and entertainment. The social media exasperates the problem even more by giving a platform for its expression. The truth is that the issue of self is nothing new, and it began with Adam and Eve trying to taking care of their perceived needs apart from God.

In the next couple of devotionals, I will share about two women who lived their lives very differently. One was selfish and the other selfless, and they both saw the fruit of their lives. They both reaped what they sowed!

And she wrote letters in Ahab’s name, sealed them with his seal, and sent the letters to the elders and the nobles who were dwelling in the city with Naboth. She wrote in the letters, saying,

Proclaim a fast, and seat Naboth with high honor among the people; and seat two men, scoundrels, before him to bear witness against him, saying, “You have blasphemed God and the king.” Then take him out, and stone him, that he may die. 1Kings 21:8-10

Jezebel was born a princess as the daughter of Ethbaal the king of Sidonians. Then she married King Ahab and became the queen of Israel. Jezebel may had never heard “no” from anyone, and she always got what she wanted. She was used to being demanding and getting her way.

The above scripture shows an example of Jezebel’s behavior in dealing with others. She did not hold back from bullying, intimidating, accusing, or annihilating those who got in her way. She surrounded herself with gods and prophets who would tell her what she wanted to hear, which kept her in her own delusion of being right and powerful!

Most of us have been around a form of Jezebel in our lives. They may look sweet and nice as long as they get their way, but as soon as they are not getting their way or someone steps on their toes, a vicious side of them is exposed!  They gravitate to positions of power because they need Ahabs to support them in their activities. They create their unholy alliance where Jezebel has Ahab’s back and Ahab protects Jezebel’s back, and in the process, they both get what they want.

The problem is that, at some point in life, someone will have the audacity to say “no” to the queen. That’s one of the dangers of people claiming that they have been rejected. Not every rejection is a true rejection. Some people are just so used to getting their way that they can’t accept anyone’s refusal of their desires or demands. Instead of accepting a “no” as an answer, they can falsely accuse others of wrongdoing and try to assasinate their character.  That type of behavior is demonic, and it empowers selfishness as a stronghold in people’s lives. How we handle those situations is the key indicator if we are allowing the self to continue to be in control or we allow God to grow us.

Jezebel thought she had the power to oppress a poor man, accuse him of wrongdoing, and then order him to get assassinated. Her selfishness caused Naboth to lose everything he had including his life. Jezebel got her way but only temporarily! God cursed this woman and she was killed by her own eunuchs and thrown down from the window (2Kings 9:32-33).

Selfishness is insatiable. When we open the door to it, nothing can satisfy for any length of time. When self is on the throne, there is no contentment. We may indulge in buying beautiful clothes, but in a few weeks, we want what somebody else is wearing. We may go on nice vacations, but as soon as we return, we begin to think that I have nothing going on in my life. People may be kind and generous with us, but the first person who does not respond to us the way we like, we begin to think that the world is against me! Self is the main culprit in living a carnal life. It is always at work trying to get its way in one way or another.

What truly distinguishes a follower of Christ from the rest of the world is their selflessness. Regardless of how much money, time, or resources we have, we may sacrifice many things, but self does not give up its reign and control very easily. As a matter of fact, people use time, money, and resources to control their environments.

Are you selfish? Maybe ask your spouse, children, or those close to you. Can you hear “no” without pouting? Do you say “no” to your own desires and cravings? Is it possible that you are an Ahab and that you protect a Jezebel in your life by giving him/her everything they want!? If we listen to the voice of the world, it will tell us that it is good to be selfish. However,  selfishness is a detriment to our spirit man, and if we desire to grow deeper in God, we must pay close attention to this issue.

I will share in the next devotional about a selfless person.