Summary: Me, Myself and I need to get out of the way so the lost can see Jesus in us.
Me, Myself and I 9-30-07
Last week the warning was about a danger that is within the Church even if not within this congregation. This week’s sermon is also a warning but it is a warning of a more intimate nature. This morning I want to sound the warning against the three most dangerous individuals in this room. They have the ability at any time if left unchecked to damage the body both in perception and practice. I struggle with the three of them weekly and on occasion I have let them control me to the point of losing my proper focus on the kingdom of God.
This trio of trouble makers confront me daily on every aspect of the church. They offer their opinions regardless of what others want or even what the body needs. They always know how and when everything should be done and are eager to make sure everyone is aware of their opinion. They offer advice where they have no experience; always insisting that “it,” whatever “it” may be, should be done exactly to their standards. My inability to rein them in has more than once damaged both my ministry and this congregation. Even as I recognize them and willingly do battle against them I know in advance that I at times I will lose.
I ask God daily to help me deal with them in a way that will be beneficial both to the Kingdom of God and the members of this congregation.
Does everybody know who I’m talking about? Most of you have guessed the three that I am talking about are “me myself and I” And truth be known I struggle with them daily.
It’s part of the human condition and it starts at a very early age. We don’t have to teach our children to be selfish it’s just a part of human nature. How quickly a child learns to say “mine” Learning to share can be a very difficult part of life for young children. Some adults never do get really good at sharing. We all retain a certain amount of selfishness, some more than others. So how do we know if we are having a problem with self?
The answer seems obvious you take the selfish test.
So here we go:
1. If the last time you said “I love you” and really meant it, you were looking in a mirror you might have a problem with self.
2. If your most memorable vacation only required one airline ticket you might have a problem with self.
3. If you always know more than the people you hire to do a job you might have a problem with self.
4. If you have come to the conclusion that no body really knows how to do anything without your advice you might have a problem with self.
5. If you have already come to the conclusion that this sermon applies to everyone in the room except you; you might have a problem with self.
6. And for all of you who have somehow been able to handle each of these questions without seeing fault in yourself at all I have one more qualifier: If you were born after man’s fall in the garden but before the second coming of Christ then chances are you might have a problem with self.
If the truth be known, we all have a problem with self.
Some hide the problem better than others. We all recognize the symptoms of those who never really learned to control “self”
We all start out as infants grabbing everything that catches our eye and then screaming “mine.” As we grow up most of us receive a certain amount of correction and we begin to realize that our actions are unacceptable. In order to mix socially with others we must conform to rules of social acceptability. And so we learn to control “self” at least to the point where others accept us, and our actions, as being normal or acceptable. That’s as far as most people ever go. Most people control “self” to receive social acceptance, so once they have learned how to behave in a manner that keeps them from being labeled as “selfish” they have no need to control self beyond that point.
Christians on the other hand are called into a life of ever increasing control of “self” our standard; our model, is not to be socially acceptable; our goal rather is to imitate our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who was, is and will always be, the perfect model of self sacrifice.
As Christians we are not called into, nor are we to be content with, a life of being socially acceptable in our level of self denial. To mature into Christianity is to mature into self-denial to an extent that society will be unable to understand your actions.