Idolatry is struck down with the very first commandment: Thou shalt have no other gods before Me (Exodus 20:3). And boy, howdy, there are idols aplenty. Gather a few girls in a group and ask for a list of idols and it grows long in a hurry. But what is our number one idol today? A hint – it hasn’t changed since the beginning of time.
Self is the number one idol. “I want what I want when I want it. Consequences be hanged.” Self breeds rebellion and pride against God and sets up substitutes for God in our hearts and lives.
What was the very first sin? In a short narrative in Isaiah 14, we read five times that Lucifer said in his heart “I will. I will be like God.” And he was thrown out of heaven. He used that very self-issue against Eve in the garden: “In the day you eat of that tree, you will be as gods.” Governed by self-will. No bowing to God or anyone else.
God later pleads with Israel: “Remember the commandments of the Lord, and do them. Seek not after your own heart to go into idolatry, but do My commandments and be holy” (Numbers 15:39&40).
For every self-idol mankind sets up, God offers cleansing and a holy choice instead. To every one who chooses the way that seems right but ends in death, God calls out “this is the way, walk in it.”
When Self-Righteousness rears its ugly head, it says “I’m good enough on my own. I’ll get to heaven by good works. I’m not so bad!” But God proclaims His Name – The Lord Our Righteousness. All our righteousness is as filthy rags. Dressed in His righteousness alone will we be able to stand faultless before His throne.
Self-Sufficiency says, “I can do it! I don’t need any help, or advice, or instruction. I’ve got this covered.” God says, “I AM Jehovah-Jireh. The grace I provide you is sufficient. It’s better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. Worship God and rejoice in Christ, and have no confidence in the flesh. But be confident of this very thing, that He which has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ!” “The arm of flesh will fail you; you dare not trust your own,” the hymn-writer warned.
Self-Defense is a touchy one, isn’t it? “I’m no worse than anyone else, and really, what I did wasn’t so bad. There are extenuating circumstances you don’t know about. It wasn’t really my fault at all.” Self-Defense is a poor resting place when Infinity is offered. David said, “God is my Defense.” Paul wrote, “The Lord stood with me, and strengthened me.” John tells us that “we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous.” He’s at God’s right hand and by our side to defend us! Jehovah-Nissi. God is our Protector, Strength, and Victory.
Self-Indulgence proudly proclaims, “I’ve worked hard and I deserve it! Who deserves it more than I? I will not be deprived.” But Paul wrote, “Don’t trust in uncertain things, but in the Living God Who gives us richly all things to enjoy.” Luke stated that God fills the hungry with good things. David reminds us that those who seek God lack no good thing. Jesus said He came that we might have life abundant! Paul tells us that God “is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we ask or think!” Wow! Women can think up some pretty abundant stuff. But God’s not trapped by our thoughts. He can exceed abundant!
Self-Seeking gets a lot of attention. Who hasn’t heard a rendition of this? “You’ve got to take care of yourself. Look out for Number One. No one else is going to!” But God says, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things you need shall be added to you.” “For my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus”!!! Hallelujah! The one set of footprints is real, Girls.
Self-Consciousness is a strange one. When God calls, Self-Consciousness bows its head, kicks the dirt, and responds, “I can’t.” Within Moses, Self-Consciousness cries, “Who am I to do that? They won’t believe me. I’m not eloquent. I can’t do what You’re asking, God. Send someone else.” But God says, “My grace is sufficient for thee, made perfect in your weakness. Commit your work to Me, and I’ll help you think. Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth fainteth not, neither is weary. He gives power to the faint, and to them that have no might He increases strength. They that wait upon the Lord shall renew strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles. They shall run and not be weary. They shall walk and not faint.” Sing with me – “I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me!”
Self can never be anything but hateful to God, Tozer states. Self is the enemy of God. And the only safe course with this enemy is death. To be rid of self, we come to the cross. “I am crucified with Christ. Nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ liveth in me. And the life which I now live in this body, I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved me, and gave Himself for me.”
Read the old song lines with me: “Let me lose myself and find it, Lord, in Thee. May all self be slain; my friends see only Thee. Though it cost me grief and pain, I will find my life again – if I lose myself, I’ll find it, Lord, in Thee.”
Paul wrote, “It is a faithful saying, if we be dead with Him, we shall also live with Him.” We must be crucified with Christ that we may live a life pleasing to the Lord. Death to self is the way to life.
1 Timothy 1:17