A huge obstacle on my way to the relationship with God He has prepared for me is “me.” Have you noticed that?
God wants to reveal more, but I am busy with me. God wants to show me His love, but I am filling my heart my way. Look at this in Galatians 5 for a tool to test when too much of “me” is running things. Ready? Check off any which show up in your life.
- Reacting to self-control with an emphasis on sensuality which shows up as: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, drunkenness, wild parties
- Replacing the true God and His ways with me and my ways: idolatry, sorcery
- Rejecting God’s way of relating to others in love and instead making relationships about “me”: hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy Galatians 5:19-21 (NLT)
This test is incredibly helpful. Often in the church Christians are strongly opposed to drunkenness and wild parties and, of course, would not consider idolatry or sorcery, but getting hot under the collar is supposed to be acceptable. The list in Galatians 5 has all of these as being operated by the flesh the evil “me” centered flesh.
Imagine getting together with family, friends, folks at church. People you really care about. As you are talking someone tells about a book they have written that is getting published soon. A bit of envy develops. Another talks about a wonderful new job or relationship and your insides start to tighten up. It’s all about “me.” The “me” has a need to be envied and will react to others having more or better or getting attention or… You know.
What if you are helping someone with something, but they are doing it different than the way you want to do it. Maybe they say something to you about doing it different. What is your reaction? Grateful or angry? Do you get angry if someone corrects or directs you? If you get hot, then don’t blame. It isn’t someone else’s fault. It is a “me thing.” The hot reaction is just like a warning light on your car’s dashboard. It is telling you something is broken and out of whack. You can blame the light or other drivers or other passengers, but none of that does any good. The right fix is in order. Do you know Galatians 5 gets to that?
For the follower of Jesus who turns from the “me thing” to God’s thing and allows the Holy Spirit to work in them something transformational happens. A different kind of attitude arises. A wildly wonderful approach to relationships emerges.
From Galatians 5 there is a list of fruit which is produced by the Holy Spirit. You can test whether you are walking in the Spirit by the fruit that appears in and through you. Look at it: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT)
If you are with another person at church, at work or at a family function would you rather be with one who is angry, hostile, self centered, envious or one who enjoys being there with the people acting in love with kindness and patience? Being that kind of person means walking in the power of Holy Spirit and not making everything a “me thing.”
Walking in the Holy Spirit takes practice just like learning to walk physically. Sometimes you fall, but get back up and keep on going.
After using a test like the one in Galatians 5 you may see there are some things that are off and some that are working. Good. Admit areas that are still operating in the flesh. Ask God to help you find those habits of thought, attitudes, speech and actions that need to be crushed so that He can produce in you something so much better.
If a red light on the dash of your life is flashing then something is wrong. You are mad. You are lashing out at others. You are hurt and looking for comfort in all the wrong places. Whatever it is that hits you recognize the process. Now practice self-control and turn to the Spirit allowing Him to disarm the bomb that is about to go off and produce a new kind of life-giving fruit within you. If you have struggled with an issue for a few years you may find sudden and miraculous change which is great. But it may be a long-term no less miraculous work of God that brings things about. Don’t give up. Allow God time to work His way. And let the "me thing" go.
Getting past the “me thing” is not for wimps, but how the person shines who does.