The Sin of Self

Elisabeth Elliot wrote:

To be a Christian in New Testament terms is to be a disciple…I cannot be saved from my sins unless I am also saved from myself, so Christ must be “commanding officer” in my life.

Elliot, Discipline.

Submission is a hard word.

If it’s used at all, it’s only for women to submit to their husbands. What happens though when a man goes to battle? Does he run off with his weapon and fire at will? No, for that would ensure a quick death. Instead, he submits to the officer in charge, follows orders, falls in step with the rest of the forces, and prays he survives.

“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”

Jesus —Luke 9:23 (NIV)

What keeps a person from following Christ? Self, which is just another word for sin. When I only want to look after number one, I allow no room for submission to God’s authority.

Sin always says, “Me first.”

The disciple says, “Christ alone.”

When I first read this statement by Elisabeth Elliot, it took a while for me to get my head wrapped around it, because the idea of a commanding officer, from a worldly standpoint, is not always pleasant—think Sergeant Carter yelling at Gomer Pyle.

However, I then remembered one of my favorite verses from Jeremiah. God tells his people:

“I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:11

The One who commands our lives is a loving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger. He wants the best for us.

How can I not submit to such a God?

Pray for the Lord to convict you of areas of your life where you are holding onto self and not letting him take full control. Pray for friends or family who have a distorted view of God and are allowing sin to keep them from submitting to the true Lover of their soul.

Grace and Peace

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