Chapter 7, Part 5 (continued)
Overcomers have to Fight
B. The Battle to Buffet My Body (1 Cor. 9:27) (continued)
(1) Knowing My "Self"
"To win every battle, one must know oneself and the enemy"! This is the most basic knowledge of a military strategist. The reason that the church in the last days is in its current situation is probably due to a lack of the knowledge of herself! If one does not know "oneself", even if one knows "the enemy", there is no way to hold a winning ticket. What about us who haven't got the slightest idea what "our enemy" is like? The church in the last days has been so accustomed to pacifying herself with delusions. This is just like Belshazzar, king of Babylon, when the army of the Medes was at the city gate, he was still holding a banquet, singing and drinking! As a result, the evil one is wild and loose today, fearing nothing! So to know oneself is the primary requirement to "buffet" oneself.
(i) The formation of the "self"
Previously, it has been mentioned that Adam had a very high opinion of himself. He is a "wise guy" and replaced God's authority with his own choosing. This is high treason with God and consequently, he separated himself from God! Since then, it has been just like the saying: "One rotten apple spoils the lot", all his descendants are like sheep, "all have gone astray, each turned to his own way". Everyone looks from different angles after his self interest only. This deplorable nature of "self centeredness" took root and is passed on from generation to generation. Furthermore, from the moment a baby is born to the discovery of its own existence and then gradually the existence of his body parts until becoming an adult, all of the development of the emotions, thinking, will, religious nature and morality are building up and nourishing the growth of the "self". In addition, the parents always teach the children not to be short changed and the need for self defense. The teachers teach the students how to gain their own advantages, develop their talents and position oneself in everything. The religious teachers teach their followers to have "self discipline" and "self piety" in order to able to go to Nirvana or Paradise after death. Even their assistance to the poor and needy are for building up their own credits and not necessary for relieving other's pain and sufferings! Such a chain of human education is for no other purpose but to equip one's "own self" and emphasize the importance of the "self".
(ii) The madness of the "self"
Such self centered behavior accumulating over the years forms a human heart that is deceitful above all. It is also incurable! Even in the days of Noah, God said, "My spirit shall not strive with man forever because he also is flesh!” So God had abandoned man because of the corruption of the flesh even in Noah's time. In these last days especially, what is seen everywhere is: "I am number one!" Devilish events such as contempt for the law and human rights abuse that rocked society are perfect representations of inhuman and mindless "mad self" which does not have country, family, relatives and friends in mind!
Not only is society like that but even the church has also followed with a third rate Rich Little act. The Scriptures' statement: "...in the last days...men will be lovers of self" has become the most important ingredient of all kinds of lawless and unrighteous acts in the church! Humanism has already replaced the Scriptures in many churches. Democracy has been substituted for theocracy and consequently, the church has become "Laodicea" (People is 'lao' (λαοσ) and habit, judgment, right is 'decea' (δικη)). Christ, the head of the church, not only has no part in church administration, He is even driven outdoors. He is knocking on the door and asking to come inside! In such a state, any Christian who wants to "no longer live for themselves but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf" will find it more difficult than flying without wings, unless he has special grace from the Lord! No wonder the Lord said, "Many are called and few are chosen!"
(iii) The ugliness of the "self'
"Self", is not only dreadful but "self" is also not pleasing to the Lord. Self is full of all kinds of deceit, treachery and evil. He often takes Satan's suggestions and is in enmity with God. With regard to God's truth, he often pushes things to the extreme so it is either overdone or short changed. He just cannot do what is right in God's sight! While his basic nature is not easily seen, his ugliness can be seen everywhere. Showing off is his frequent goal and seeking self benefit is his principle of operation. Self promotion is his usual tactic and being a wise guy is his style! He lives a selfish lifestyle. He frequently says, "Give! Give!" Whenever there is enjoyment to be gained, he will be there early and act surprised. Wherever there is responsibility to be fulfilled, he is nowhere to be found! The lifestyle is to shun work and enjoy leisure. All this shows the three legacies from Adam: pride, dishonesty and laziness. He has no idea that "in building up others, one is also built up and in helping others, oneself is also helped!" When he is on a roll, he will toot his own horn and fancy himself to be something too good to be true. He will even have the attitude that "there is none beside me" or "me or no one else". When he has setbacks, he would complain and blame himself, wasting himself away even committing suicide! He does not know what it is to struggle and rise above the circumstances! When he has a little accomplishment, he would indulge himself in his success even to the point of thinking himself as a supreme being. He does not know the importance of increasingly strengthening oneself! When he is lonely, he will feel isolated and talk to himself for self comfort (This is why so many elderly people like to talk). When others put him on a pedestal, he will gloat and believe the buttering up is for real and delude himself. When others drop him, he will feel so ashamed and look for a hole to crawl in, get into more trouble and even drop out. So many people know that society is contaminated but yet they are willing to swim in the mire. They are unwilling to keep themselves pure. Instead they fall prey to their own schemes and traps and eat the bitter fruit of their own making. They ignore the warning: "When people create evil, people will perish"! When their conscience begins to bother them or when they feel so shameful, they will shift or hide the guilty feeling by rationalizing and accusing others! They smear their conscience and are unwilling to accept the counsel of repentance.
All of the above mentioned ugly acts lead to self deception, deception of others, and even self destruction! This kind of "own self" or "body" deserves to be forsaken by a holy and righteous God! Since God sees it to be without cure, other than nailing the old self on the cross, there is no other way to salvation! Unfortunately, most people are unwilling to continue their struggle in defeating it. Instead, they welcome this old self with open arms and end up committing the greatest mistake in their lives. How sad that is!