Lose Your "Self"
The fall of man in the garden of Eden was the beginning of history for the "self" in each of us. The "self" that looks for the “what’s in it for me” during our daily routines. How can I be happy, safe, healthy, wealthy, and accepted by those around me. This need to satisfy self stems from a lack of trust that God is in control and wants the best for us.
Genesis 3:4-6 NIV
4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it...
The trust we should have in God, that he has our best interest in mind, breaks down in verse six and leads to satisfying our desire to control our condition. From this point forward we are locked in a struggle that leads us to think about our needs and how others perceive us in our everyday actions. When we fail to place trust in God during our daily struggles we lose sight of where our strength comes from and even our most noble endeavors become efforts to keep ourselves relevant instead of furthering God’s plan and giving him the credit.
Example from Moses' Life
Exodus 17:5-7 NIV
5 The Lord answered Moses, “Go out in front of the people. Take with you some of the elders of Israel and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. 6 I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink.” So Moses did this in the sight of the elders of Israel.
8 “Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink.”9 So Moses took the staff from the Lord’s presence, just as he commanded him. 10 He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, “Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?” 11 Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank.12 But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.”
In both of these events God provided water from a rock. Moses followed God’s instructions in Exodus but in Numbers he deviated from God’s instructions by hitting the rock instead of speaking to it. It does not appear that Moses purposely disobeyed God but as a sinner he may have lapsed into a “self” moment and, in verse ten, took credit for what was about to happen. If we put ourselves in the moment we may have seen this scene play out.
Forgetting who’s in charge, Moses remembers back in Exodus that he it the rock with the staff and the water came out, so he followed the same process. The first hit produces no effect and thinks to himself, that’s odd the last time “I” did this the water came out. So he hits it again.
God had a plan and so the water came pouring out, but God informs Moses of his sin and its consequence. In the same way we can become self-centered and think we have all the answers forgetting that our strength comes from God. God’s plan will not be stopped but our part in it would be so much easier if we let him lead and give him the credit. Giving him the credit is our reminder to trust that he looks out for us so we can look out for others.
It’s easy to slip and be about “self” in our daily lives, but if we take a good honest look at our motives before we act, we may find ourselves changing the response or not responding at all.