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Summary: We must defeat our selfish nature to allow Christ to take control. Where does it begin and how big of a problem is it?

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Scripture Reading: James 3:13-17 Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. 14But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. 17But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.

INTRODUCTION

Story:

Ralph L. Woods: An ambitious farmer, unhappy about the yield of his crops, heard of a highly recommended new seed corn. He bought some and produced a crop that was so abundant his astonished neighbors asked him to sell them a portion of the new seed. But the farmer, afraid that he would lose a profitable competitive advantage, refused.

The second year the new seed did not produce as good a crop, and when the third-year crop was still worse it dawned upon the farmer that his prize corn was being pollinated by the inferior grade of corn from his neighbors’ fields.

C.R. Gibson, Wellsprings of Wisdom.

To be a real disciple of Christ we must give up our self-dominated and enslaved selves. Why is this so difficult?!

The self-dominated person believes all things can and must be done according to their will because the self-enslaved person believes themselves to be always right.

If you are always right do you see any reason to change?

The problem is the self-dominated person isn’t always right and when reality destroys these fantasies, control of their world is lost. When this happens most of the time they fall into self-hatred or self-pity. These states can bring about depression and despair, which can lead to self-destructive behavior, the worst of which is suicide.

KING ME STARTS AT BIRTH

Babies cry or wet and they get attention and are served. This happens over and over each day. Every time we respond to their needs we assert their authority. But this is part of the design and is necessary.

This self-centered position must change or miserable consequences will result.

We are NOT the center of the world, that position belongs to God alone, the sooner we learn this the better off we are.

· Exodus 20:3 "You shall have no other gods before me.

This includes ourselves!

THE CONTEST OF WILLS BEGINS

Between the ages of two and six children are asking, “Who is number one? They are trying to establish if they are divine or human.

The struggle against authority involves a contest of wills, if children win this contest in reality they lose. Each triumph over authority more securely entrenches the “I am King or god” fantasy. The child will become Spoiled, Selfish, Arrogant, Destructive.

It is absolutely essential that children lose these clashes with authority. Many parents fail here because they believe their children will hate them if they do not give them everything they want or let them do what they want. The opposite is true, children need and want limits.

DEVELOPMENT OF TACTICS

Between seven and thirteen children develop methods and tactics to overcome authorities.

Such as manipulation or divide and conquer. Once again these tactics must be defeated.

FINE TUNING

Between fourteen and twenty the last adjustments are made as they look forward to independence. They look forward to being free. Free from supervision. Free from rules. Free from authority. Free to obey no one but themselves.

ENTRENCHED IN SELFISHNESS

From twenty onward the commitment to selfishness only grows deeper and stronger if it was not defeated in childhood.

As they leave home and take up the keys to their own kingdom the delusions of freedom develop into “reality”. The problem is that their “reality” is based on self-convictions which become their “truth”. Such as I am power, I am truth, I am right, I am the law or above it and I am perfect or sinless.

The problem with selfish behavior is once it starts it is difficult to stop. Listen to how Paul describes it.

· Romans 7:7-24 What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, "You shall not covet." 8But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead. 9I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died. 10The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me. 11For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. 12So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. 13Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure. 14For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. 15For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 21So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?

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