There is a lust in the nature of man to please and satisfy himself. Yet, sad to say, one will measure the level of his success by the response of others. This produces many, many illnesses, for, usually, self is not satisfied until it gets its desired response from others who have their own expectations in mind. What a vicious circle! It is no wonder why so many say, “It is a dog-eat-dog world. Get all you can. I’ll scratch your back if you’ll scratch mine.” In this, we ought to clearly see the spirit of this world in direct opposition to the spirit of the Kingdom of Heaven.
It is impossible for man to admit to this problem, unless he truly has a love to be free from it. Even freedom from it then is not attainable, unless there is a heartfelt love for the fellowship of the sufferings of Christ. He who seeks to save his life shall lose it. In such a walk it is needful, in this sense, for one to be in opposition to all that is of self.
After we do all we can do in an attempt to live the Christian life, we must face the reality that we are not able to. We must lose our life to gain eternal life. It is at the point of desperation for more of Christ that we see the futility of our own ways.
Today, we see so many thousands of “Christians” busy working for the Lord. Even the world admires what they term to be the sacrifice of their life for this or that “good cause.” Yet, even in all of our business for God, there often remains something very deep within our souls that is left untouched. The sad story is that many have served their whole life FOR the Lord, and gone to the grave never having done the works that are OF the Lord. There is a vast difference.
It is said of so many that this one or that one is really used of the Lord. Or better seen, yet when one dies after years of service, you hear many say how he or she was really used of the Lord. There is no question that many of these people were of those who loved the Lord. To be used of the Lord does not speak of intimacy with Him.
In the mind of man, there is very often a desire to do for God and help Him out. The problem with this mind is that the believer, very often, is the one who decides how to go about helping God out. Such a one determines the approval or disapproval of the Lord upon his labors by the means which men measure success. The acceptance or rejection of others is very important when self is alive and well. I am certain that most believers live in this mind from time to time, if not all of the time.
Here we are faced with a tremendous challenge. That is: I can work hard and help God out, or I can surrender to Him and allow His mind to be in me, in order that His Kingdom come in earth as it is in Heaven. Only the anointing which comes in the mind of Christ knows the things that are pleasing to the Father.
The reason that we so often fight against the mind of Christ is because it is not a mind that seeks the glory and acceptance of man. (This includes self-acceptance). This mind needs no approval from men and it diminishes self. All of our personality traits — the things which we and others enjoy so much about us — is in jeopardy when the mind of Christ is at work.
It is no wonder why we have an entire age where Christians find no pleasure in the cross of Christ, but only in singing about resurrection victory, while living a life which differs not from the world. This also explains why we have an entire church age which longs to be entertained. It cheers them to live on with no cost on their part, all under the guise of Christianity.