Holy Scripture shows us our own “I,” or the self, in six major forms, namely: self-confidence, a desire to help ourselves, self-seeking, self-will, self-satisfaction, and self-exaltation. All these together may truly be called the “thousand-headed monster,” the “mother of all sin and misery,” the “dark tyrant” Let us consider each of these six forms of the self-life...
It is not enough that we commit ourselves to God; He must also be able to entrust Himself to us. In John 2:24 we are told that “Jesus did not trust Himself unto them, for that He knew all men.” To those who desire only to see and receive, Jesus cannot entrust Himself. Wonder is not the same as faith. When Jacob saw the ladder to heaven he marveled at God’s goodness and holiness, but he did not yet believe in them. To whom can Jesus commit Himself? To those who do not place confidence in themselves. To those who follow Him all the way to the cross, who take their stand beneath the cross, and who no longer seek after gifts and blessings, but who seek Him alone. John was the only disciple who followed Jesus all the way to the cross, and to him the dying Master committed the dearest He had on earth, His mother. We do not realize at all how deeply self-confidence is rooted in our hearts until that which we have consciously or unconsciously relied upon is taken away from us. Do you know why God led the people of Israel out into the wilderness? In order that they might learn to look up and to expect all things from above. In Goshen they had received what they needed from the earth; but now they found themselves in the desert with the dry hot sands under their feet, and they had to say to one another, “If we are to receive help, it must come from above.” And, truly, from above came bread, meat, and even water. “Moses smote the rock and water came forth abundantly.”
Thus God takes away all things from under our feet, until we have nothing left but Him. God has always the highest goal in view, namely, to lead us into self-denial. Everything is directed toward teaching us to entrust ourselves to Him. Therefore, we must often suffer defeat. You fight with all your might against sin and find yourself surrounded by the enemy. You pray fervently and sincerely: “O God, help me and stay by me.” But it seems that God does not hear. You cry yet more earnestly for help, but He seems to have no concern for you. Is He then really merciless? No! Just because He is merciful, He cannot help you. If He did, you would not be freed from your selfconfidence; you would not learn to fight the good fight of faith and thus attain the victory which the Master has won; you would not learn to say “Jesus only!” but you would still continue to say “Jesus and I.”
Peter the self-confident could not be saved, in the final analysis, except through a fall. So the Lord led him to the place where another girded him, where he allowed himself to be led, and where he stretched out his hands toward the strong, faithful, gentle shepherdhands of his Master. It is commonly said concerning Jacob that he wrestled with God; but, upon reading Genesis 32, we find that a man wrestled with him. And when Jacob lay upon the ground with a strained thigh, he cried, “I will not let thee go except thou bless me!”
Previously, he had always blessed himself. After Paul had been blind and helpless, he was able to say, “I can do all things.” When he could do no more, he was able to do all.
to be continued....