The SELF Diet
Have you ever spoken to your self? Good
Not what if I asked you to hold your cell phone high for a moment. Now, I want you to stand up and put your cell phone on the chair behind you.
Next, I want you to remain standing and put your SELF on the chair beside your cell phone.
Why is there so much confusion with that request? Read it again.
You agreed that YOU spoke to your SELF. That suggests that YOU and your self are not the same.
Why then is it so challenging to separate your SELF from YOU?
The issue is that you have been hypnotized into accepting an illusion as YOU. The fact that you and that illusory sense of identity are NOT the same has become blurred.
You have no problem in establishing that your cell phone is not YOU. Your chair is not YOU. Your dress or shirt is not YOU. Your SELF is also not YOU.
The truth is that when we say “I” we usually have in mind our SELF.
What we accept and think of as “me” and “I” is really a masterful act of deception by our SELF. This is high class identity theft that usually goes undetected.
If you do not take care to recognize SELF it will trick you into thinking that it is YOU. You will be lulled into failing to separate the two and to identify with SELF as if it is YOU.
It is critical to recognize that we are NOT the voice in our heads – the prompter. That voice in our heads is our SELF. It is actually the motivation for dysfunction that you carry around with you and indeed, appear to be YOU.
Humans in the normal state are fundamentally defective and collectively dysfunctional….. Rom 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Sin means to “miss the mark”. There is something in us that leads us to miss the mark…. We do not quite get it.
This impostor SELF has been nurtured by events in our lives. In its fully grown state, it takes control of what we perceive to be our reality. It provides the filter through which we screen everything – thoughts, events, interactions, relationships. This illusion – Your SELF – shapes how you view life and its unfolding events.
It is His appreciation of this distinction between you and your SELF that caused Christ to say to His disciples: If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. (Matt 16:24).
Denial of SELF becomes harder when SELF is well fed and fully developed.
Today, we want to put SELF on a diet. In order to do so, we need to identify the favourite foods of SELF.
Spending time identifying how SELF is fed is essential to achieving the transformation of our minds which is at the core of Christian living.
So as you would imagine SELF is not a healthy eater.
Its favourite is My sCream.
The SELF Menu is simple – “Me”, “Mine”, “More than”, “I want”, “I need”, “I must have”, “Not enough”.
If you want to put SELF on a diet you have to remove those items from the daily menu.
It is critical that you identify the impact of those words. Failure to do so will give them control over you and you will find yourself acting out the unconscious thoughts and actions that are tied to those words.
One fundamental problem is that SELF tends to equate HAVING with BEING. SELF grows and feels more secure the more it HAS.
The problem is that things are temporal – they are not permanent and consequently SELF inevitably experiences heartfelt dissatisfaction and a sense of incompleteness. There is a sense in which we are “not enough.”
It is important to recognize that none of the things that SELF seeks will satisfy you as long as SELF is in control. No matter what you have or get, you will not experience lasting joy. You will be constantly seeking after fulfilment.
Ecc 1:14 I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and indeed, all is vanity and grasping for the wind.
One side effect of this feasting on My sCREAM is the constant need for comparison. We compare ourselves with others.
A spin off of that is that how they view us is how we see ourselves.
Spiritual maturity is tied to our ability to clearly see and live out the reality that what I perceive, experience, think or feel is ultimately not who I am. Who I am cannot be found in things that continuously pass away.
1 John 2: 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.
For this reason it is important to learn more about your SELF so that we can identify it in action. Once you recognize the actions of SELF, it is weakened. Recognition weakens it and its hold on you.
SELF also feeds on NOT Me PIE.
For the concept “I” to have significance it needs to have something as a contrast. If you place a white object on a white background it does not stand out.
Think about it. If everybody was IDENTICAL there would be no room or need for SELF to boost itself.
In order to grow SELF needs to feast on NOT Me PIE.
The more SELF can identify differences with others, the more special it becomes and a UNIQUE SELF is really special. One of a kind or rare things have increased value. SELF knows that and does everything to get the corrupted you to find ways in which you are different.
Amazingly, the difference does not have to be positive in SELF’s favour. Being really bad also makes SELF stand out and exposure has value.
So, in many instances anti-social behaviour and disobedience are really strategies for SELF to grow by getting attention from being different.
Where are we going with this?
- We are looking at how we can actually go about self denial.
- We first sought to identify the SELF that is to be denied.
- We then started to look at what sustains SELF. How can we weaken it?
- We looked at SELF’s dietary habits…. My sCREAM and NOT Me PIE.
One effect of NOT Me PIE is the drive for “Me” to stand out. So it has to focus on finding differences with others. This actually leads to finding fault with others and complaining about them. When we put down others it makes us feel superior.
Fault finding is a core function of the impostor SELF that you so happily embrace as YOU.
Christ is alert to this deceptive plan.
Matt 7: 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye?
Complaining and its emotional counterpart Resentment add energy to the false SELF. When we complain, we add emotions to it. We feel bitter, angry, aggrieved, offended. This strengthens SELF.
It has been observed that the things that you react to most strongly in others and mistakenly take as their identity tend to be the same faults that are also in you. You have just been unable or unwilling to detect them within yourself.
The key is to recognize that in your interactions with others, the actions of their SELF is not who they really are. We live in an environment in which rogue SELFs are engaging one another.
That is why conflict, competition, distrust, hate and other ills abound.
It is important to note that resentment is not limited to persons but also to situations which give the false SELF even more scope.
This capacity to look beyond and to avoid reacting to the SELF-driven actions of others is the essence of humility, longsuffering and forgiveness.
Humility takes us to the understanding that we all have imperfections and that fault finding is not a very useful activity.
Longsuffering allows us to be patient when things do not go the way that we want them to.
Forgiveness comes naturally when you recognize that the only purpose of grievance and resentment is to strengthen a false sense of SELF and to feed it more NOT Me PIE.
Whatever the behaviour that comes from SELF, the hidden driving force is always similar: Need to stand out, to be special, to be in control, to have power, to get attention, to get more. Also, the need to feel a sense of difference (I am not like that).
SELF is dysfunctional. It always has a hidden agenda. That is why Christ requires of us that we deny ourselves (that false SELF).
Why then was it so challenging to separate your SELF from YOU?
The point is that you have been lulled into accepting all that goes on within you to be YOU. The reality is that you are a victim of identity theft. An impostor has slipped in mostly unnoticed and taken up residence in you under the guise of being the real YOU.
The real problem is that the identity theft has been so slick that the vast majority of persons do not even realize that there is a false self in place. They mistakenly see this impostor as themselves. They think: “This is who I am!” They live that lie to the point where in some instances the two are undistinguishable to them.
The failure to recognize the impostor and to blow the whistle on the threat of identity theft gives the impostor more strength. The impostor thrives on the ignorance and lack of attentiveness and takes over more and more of what should be YOU.
The search for who you are is greatly assisted by knowing who you are not. We must understand that we are NOT SELF.
It is interesting to note that, who you think you are is directly linked to how you think others are treating you. That shapes how you think about yourself. If you think that others are lavishing love upon you, you think that you are loved person.
One important consideration is that whatever you think the world is withholding from you, you are in fact withholding from the world!
So, if you feel that you are missing something – start giving it. If you do not think that you have it – act as if you do and it will come to you. Then you give it and in turn you will receive it.
Luke 6: 38 Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”
A failure to starve SELF will condemn us because it moves us away from being able to observe the two great commandments – Loving God and Loving our neighbour as ourselves. Mark 12:30
Salvation can only come when you recognize SELF for what it is and take care to separate your core, true YOU from it.
Once you make the distinction, your responsiveness to the Gospel call becomes easy. The cares of the world no longer choke the Word and it bears fruit in your heart. You recognize that you are a creature of Almighty God and that you are in a sinful state. You accept the need for you to take steps to change your status and to change your ways. You are willing and ready to announce to the world your belief that Jesus is Lord. You accept and are ready to put on Christ in water baptism for the remission of your sins and to walk in the newness of life.
The untutored, unattended SELF is the advocate of the flesh.
The transformed YOU manifests the fruit of the spirit:
Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
Be on guard, be alert. There is an impostor taking over your identity. Once you identify him and monitor him closely the scam is defeated and the TRUE YOU is able to present itself. This YOU is in Christ and is obedient to His will.
God bless YOU!