We all know curse words when we hear them. They don't leave much to the imagination.
I've heard them all—or at least I think I have. But to me, this four-letter word is far more detrimental to any Christ follower than any of those.
The word is "self."
Some of you may be thinking that I've lost it. What harm can the word "self" do?
Plenty. And the Bible affirms that assertion. Galatians 6:8 says, "For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption ... " (MEV).
Self-worship comes in many forms. Second Timothy 3:1-4 says, "Know this: In the last days, perilous times will come. Men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, slanderers, unrestrained, fierce, despisers of those who are good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God, having a form of godliness, but denying its power ..." (MEV).
Does that sound familiar? Is that not the epitome of America right now?
Giving in to self can be as simple as watching college football all day on a Saturday. Or, eating the leftover Chinese from last night's dinner without thinking your daughter would have wanted it for lunch.
Ashamedly, I've been guilty of both, and don't think either hasn't caused some hurt feelings within my family. It's nothing to take lightly, as the Holy Spirit constantly reminds me.
However, giving in to self can cause much more pain. Viewing pornography (which can lead to adultery), gluttony, anger and materialism (running up debt) are only a few things that can rip families apart all in the name of "it's all about me."
Is this something you struggle with? Never fear, there is a solution.
What does Jesus recommend?
"Then He said to them all, "If anyone will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me." (Luke 9:23, MEV).
This is not a suggestion. Jesus demands daily self-denial from His disciples. He commands constant commitment from every one of His followers.
For every true disciple living in the shadow of the cross of Christ, your life will include times of hunger and thirst, temptation, times of being despised, rejected, misunderstood and mistreated. Isn't it wonderful to know you're in good company?
And, as I always like to say, "there is that."
Shawn A. Akers is the online managing editor at Charisma Media. He is a published poet and published a story about Dale Earnhardt in NASCAR Chicken Soup for the Soul. You can read his blog here. To sign up for his newsletter, "Step Out of the Boat," and other Charisma newsletters, click here. You can also listen to his podcasts, the Javelin Sports Show, on the Charisma Podcast Network.
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