This series has been leading to a climax. We are approaching the heart of the problem of replacing intimate knowledge of God with other things. That problem is what some would call the self.
It boils down to who is king of your life.
One way to look at this is by turning to the ten commandments. The setup that is commonly accepted is that the rules start with loving God and then say things about loving your neighbor. We’ll save loving your neighbor for another day, but the notion of loving God fills the entire law. The dichotomy of this law is between choosing God and life or choosing what you think is good for the self and going down into destructive patterns. It is essentially raising your self as an idol over and against God, which goes against the first command.
Martin Luther once said, “…where the heart is rightly disposed toward God and this commandment is observed, all the others follow.” Luther understood that the gate to living well and in holiness was to first focus on honoring God. Without that step, everything else falls apart. We have gone over the things in Christianity that tend to take precedence over God (Doctrine, Blessing, Tradition, Experience, and Reason.) All of them, although great, can give us a high sense of self and tear us away from not putting anything above God. We become the idol we had been working to not become.
Because we all wanted what we didn’t have.
We have all defamed someone’s character.
We have stolen things because we were able.
We’ve given in to deep desires regardless of their effects on others.
We’ve wished that certain people were dead.
We’ve forgotten to give back to the people who have sacrificed for us.
We’ve given up on God’s rejuvenating plan thinking ours was better.
We’ve claimed to be under God’s name without actually submitting to Him.
We’ve placed TV, money, and icons at the center of our culture instead of God and others.
Why? Because we think more highly of the self than we do God. Instead of knowing God by doing His will, we intend to do our own will. Thinking that we can do it better, we forget that we humanity have been down this road before.
And just like the first time, it does not end well.
We can do it better, but only if we lose our selves to gain the plans that God has for us. What is taking the place of God in your life? What are you using to make life better? Are you thinking so highly of yourself that you are actually overriding God’s wishes for you? Do you know God or your self?