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Self-centeredness is the core and curse of our fallen nature. We can’t get out of ourselves. Our own lives, will, and perspective are the be all and end all of our myopic existence. Of all of our eccentricities, our preoccupation with ourselves is the most difficult of all “prisons” to escape.
Salvation must first and foremost then be defined as the ability to get beyond ourselves and orient our lives around God’s will and others’ welfare. To truly experience the gift and nature of being saved, we must begin to be aware of ourselves, primarily in the context of our redemptive interaction with others. The questions of life shift away from “what about me?” to “what about others?” To say, “it’s not about me,” slightly misses the mark; it is about us in terms of how we contribute to God’s plans and others’ well-being.
One of the most destructive challenges facing Christendom today is what I call “baptized self.” Baptized self is the mental perspective religion gives us when we improperly relate to Christ’s redemption of our lives. Christ saved us to live unto Him and others, not to use His power and love to re-focus on ourselves as “the apple of His eye.” We are all special to the Lord in terms of His love for us and His commitment to see us all fully matured and fruitful unto Him. Baptized self leaves us still focused on ourselves and misusing Jesus’ love for us as a further excuse to see our own welfare as the centering point of Jesus’ sacrifice for us, rather than the reality that Jesus went to the cross first as an act of obedience to the Father’s will, and secondarily for us. We are, as the Scripture says, living because of God, through God, and for God (II Corinthians 5:15), rather than alive for our own sake. Our self-centered selves simply cannot conceive of a life where our own welfare and rebellion against God are not preeminent. Self-centeredness is the supreme essence of rebellion against God and defines Satan’s core disease he passed on to us all through Adam and Eve’s disobedience.
Self-centeredness makes community, team work, marriage, or any other merging of our will with others problematic at best, and impossible at worst. As Christians, it has kept us from effectively serving God, our neighbors, and ultimately our own best welfare. We cannot act as “salt and light,” disciple nations, our accurately represent Christ because of it. It causes us to misuse the gifts of the Holy Spirit, God’s spiritual authority in us and through us, and even our interpretation of God’s Word. Satan’s work against us is often minimal; our own self-centeredness does most of the work itself.
Love is the antidote and God the supplier of true and selfless love. As our surrounding culture continues to commit suicide, it needs to be rescued. Only believers who are journeying out of self-centeredness can do so. Even for the Scriptures to do their work, they need Christ-centered vessels on earth to do so, and that is… THE BOTTOM LINE.