Friday, September 26, 2008

overcoming ourselves

I like these lines from Christina Rossetti:

God harden me against myself,
This coward with pathetic voice
Who craves for ease and rest and joys

Myself, arch-traitor to myself;
My hollowest friend, my deadliest foe,
My clog whatever road I go.

Yet One there is can curb myself,
Can roll the strangling load from me
Break off the yoke and set me free.

It is challenging to say the least when we realize that the biggest enemy we can have is ourselves. What we want can get in the way of what is good, what is truly good. Of course we think we know better.

This is part of the old life in Adam, and we in Jesus can fall back into that at times. Maybe even for long periods of time, before God's loving disciplining hand helps us come to our senses and repent.

Half the battle surely is to realize the problem. The answer lies not in us, but in Jesus and our new found identity in him. Through Christ we can be victorious, more than conquerors, since our old "in Adam" self is dealt with, the death blow, in him. Of course learning to live this out by faith is ongoing for us in Jesus. Overcoming ourselves is more about looking to Jesus and finding our true self in him.

What would you like to add here?

10 comments:

preacherman said...

I think when we see our true self in the eyes of God we appreciate the grace and love of the Almighty more. I think the battle with most of us is that we fail to completely surrender everything over to him. I mean everything!I(money, food, clothes, jobs, family, etc). God wants to be in control and yet the world and society impact our willingness to give. One of my favorite passages and think it is key to this issue is what Paul says, "It is no longer I... But Christ!"
Thanks Ted for sharing this wonderful post with us.
I hope you have a great day and blessed weekend brother!

NaNcY said...

the lie, that we have been told, and that we believe, is that we are free to belong to "our" self. when we are in sin we believe that we are free.

the truth.... that we "can see" when we are in Jesus, is that we never belong to self. we either belong to evil or we belong to God.

self, meaning control of our being.


God is stronger than evil.
so God is in control of all.

we are alive becuse of God.

our choice...

of God OR continuing to belong to evil ...

is given to us by "God".


the enemy is evil,
and it is hard to understand that overcoming evil is actually the battle. our beings can not overcome evil. only God can overcome evil for us.

believing that it is "our" self or "our" identity is just believing that we own self. we do not, but we do have "choice" of who owns us...in that "choice" we choose every day who we are going to obey.

God wants for us to obey Him in Holy Spirit and in truth and Love, praise and rejoicing.

evil wants for us to choose the lie and be blinded by it.


praise God! it is what God wants for us. praise is joy in Him. it is our joy and our STRENGTH.

praise God, brother. in Love.
for you are a child of God in Jesus and God in you.

praise God...and He will give you JOY...which is our strength in Him.

praise you Lord God, my God, the God of abraham, the God of israel, the God of all.

-bill said...

Overcoming ourselves is more about looking to Jesus and finding our true self in him.

What an incredibly insightful statement! Thanks for the gentle, yet compelling, exhortation to die to self.

Blessings in Christ,
Bill Williams

Lanny said...

Had a friend who always said, "we throw rocks in front of our own bicycles"

All my "rocks" are my own doing.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Preacherman,
Thanks, brother for your good thoughts about surrender. You too!

Ted M. Gossard said...

Nancy,
Thanks for all your helpful words to us. For your exuberance in sharing, thanks!

Ted M. Gossard said...

Thanks for your kind comment, Bill!

Ted M. Gossard said...

Lanny,
Thanks! Amen. And that sounds dangerous.

Litl-Luther said...

I liked Nancy’s comment: our beings can not overcome evil. only God can overcome evil for us.

That is so true. “For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” (Phil. 2:13)

"By God's power we are guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." (l Peter 1:5)

"to him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you without blemish before the presence of his glory with rejoicing…” (Jude 24,25)

"May your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, and he will do it." (l Thes. 5:23-24)

"And I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." (Phil. 1:6)

"Jesus Christ will sustain you to the end; guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful…” (l Cor. 1:8-9)

It’s an excellent post. The only thing I am a bit uncomfortable with is the idea of praying for God to harden us (though the content of the prayer is good). I believe the only time God hardens people in the Bible are in the context of judgment, not blessing. It reminds me a bit like praying for “justice in the world”. That is almost the equivalent of praying for condemnation; we don’t want God’s justice; we want His grace.

I did enjoy the post.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Triston,
Thanks. I think the prayer for hardening is really a prayer for grace. Hardening oneself against sin. Which would involve a change of heart, of course.