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Surrendering the Self Life

Updated: Nov 17, 2020

“When we let Self rule, it obscures our awareness of God, thwarts our ability to receive him.”

John Eldredge

There’s a war being waged within each of us: who will be the ruler of our lives. Will it be God, or will it be me? The tug-of-war struggle within me is all about who will be the head of my life. My flesh, or Self, wants to rule, but the way to experiencing more of God is to wave the white flag of surrender with my Self life. 

There is a reason the Apostle Paul wrote: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20a). The Self life needs to be killed so the Christ life reigns within us. However much Self takes up residence in my life, what is left over belongs to God. So, the more Self is crucified, the more God has under His rulership. The more I surrender Self to God, the more of God I possess. When I pondered these truths, it helped to draw a picture of a body. I colored in how much I thought my Self ruled and reigned and then I visibly saw how much was left over for God’s leadership. 

We can identify how much Self has taken control of our lives by looking at its fruit. Envy, wanting what someone else has, jealousy, being easily offended, and wanting life to go our own way are to name just a few. Having a victim mentality, demanding entitlement, and thinking it’s all about me are other characteristics that Self is on the throne of our life. Discerning if you’re more of a giver or taker helps to define who the ruler is. John Eldredge writes: “For the Self was never meant to be master, and when we make it so, we fall prey to a thousand heartaches.” 

One of the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23 is self-control, having Christ lead and control our Self life. There are many ways this can be done. Displaying humility by preferring others is one way to exhibit Christ-like qualities (Philippians 2:5-8). Rejoicing with those who have what you wish you had and praying for them to receive more, crushes the enemy of envy. Keeping short accounts and letting go of offense through forgiveness is yet another way to crucify the Self. Admiring others and affirming them takes the focus away from ourselves. 

If you desire more of God to have control over your life, then give up more of your Self. Even though the process may be difficult to get to that place, there’s so much freedom waiting for you on the other side. 

“The self is given to us that we many sacrifice it; it is ours that we like Christ may have something to offer.”

George MacDonald 

Relevant Reflections: 

  1. Describe a time when Self ruled your life. 

  2. Identify an area you want to surrender to God. What steps can you take toward that? 

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