Here’s a statement –
Maybe we’re all just trying to kill self, in one way or another.
Yikes, right? Keep reading, I’ll explain what I mean.
The world is filled with people who hurt themselves. There seems to be a pretty constant problem amongst humans: an inner-loathing. Not everyone drinks that cup, but many of us do. We self-destruct because we self-hate. Some self-harm. Some self-indulge, which is actually a form of devastating the self, and often a coping method for dealing with self-hatred. It leads one to inflate like a balloon until, ultimately, they burst. And then there’s actual suicide. The heartbreaking death of self that cannot come back from the grave.
All these things, to their own level, lead to the same place – the destroying or killing of self.
I was driving home the other day and thinking this when something else hit me. I had just written about how Jesus called us to come and die. He said that in order to find our life, we must first lose it. Maybe all this self-hating and self-destruction isn’t altogether wrong, then? Maybe it’s just been misplaced: twisted and perverted into something that brings death without giving way to life, something without Jesus. Maybe we all have this healthy desire and inherent destiny to die to self, but we don’t know the truth of it enough to do it like Christ did, so we do it in all the wrong ways. Satan has deceived us into thinking that we need to either deflate and destroy ourselves because we are so wretched and wrong, or we need to inflate and take everything we want because we deserve it – but we don’t realize no matter how much we give or take, it won’t bring us life or peace or happiness.
When we fall prey to Satan and believe his shouting lies, we end up denying the God-created purposes for our lives, and this leads to our ultimate downfall and unhappiness. So the totally upside-down Kingdom does it again: it tells us, “Let Me raise you up from the death of this world, from your own self-destructive nature. Let Me build you again after all the lies that have detonated everywhere around you have blown you to pieces. Let Me show you the truth, and let you taste My Love and My Life – so that you will then come and die a death that gives way to abundance and freedom instead. So that you will come and die with Me in order to share in My Glory and live in the riches of Truth.”
Jesus showed us how to love, how to sacrifice, when His love for us broke His body and His heart and broke the earth and the sky right open. And it’s that very love that He beckons us with; it’s that perfect love which is His actual being, that He draws us into.
And maybe this is one of the loudest of quiet convictions –
this self-dying for Christ’s love –
because it makes eternal ripples throughout all of time, yet no one may even notice.
Greatest love must come in the smallest of packages, because, somehow, that’s the only way to carry it.
It comes as a heavy realization, the convicting kind of heavy, but the good kind nonetheless.
I wonder if this whole time I’ve had it all wrong. For every bit of wisdom and knowledge, for every intelligent thought and deep understanding from above, for every right revelation and unearthed mystery…I’ve still had it all wrong. Because the very first, very foundational, very important thing that Christ ever taught us is that we are here to serve, and to die, and that’s how we find life. I’ve missed it because instead of dying with Jesus first, I’ve loved my life and tried to find happiness through my own controlling heart and striving hands. Foolishly, I’ve spent my days chasing ways to be special, to be seen, to be happy and healthy and accepted – dressing up my little world with my big thoughts of ‘I’.
I do hate my self. I hate the self. I hate my headstrong will that refuses to submit, my selfish drive that would rather be comfortable than help another, my woe unto me personality that begs to be understood but refuses to understand. How can I believe that I am any more important, any more valuable, than the next person? How can I believe that I am anything at all in this whole expanse of space and time and eternity?
I feel like Job again but in a new way: in a way I never thought I would. I feel like Job in a way that understands what Job said when God spoke to him out of the storm: I despise myself, and I repent in dust and ashes.
I want to rip my clothes off and put on sackcloth and kneel in the dust and ashes of my SELF, and repent and lay low and lower and to the least. I must decrease, and He must increase. I must die, so that He can live in me and through me, and so that His surrendered life can be inseparably tangled up with mine.
We must share in His death to share in His life.
And His life, is life.
This is the journey we must embark on.
The treasure is on the other side of our own death.