Dealing with ‘I’

By Joel Iyorwa

“He must increase, but I must decrease” John 3:30

This modern age has been caught up in a wave of strange new ideas, philosophies and values. One of those is the elevation of ‘self’ through what has come to be known in contemporary parlance as ‘humanism.’

This has mushroomed pride all over the world today as people are increasingly placing confidence in themselves. The basic theory of humanism is self-sufficiency, that is, the understanding that humans can and should operate with a fierce independence of others, society and deity.

Even a casual look at humanism reveals that it is in direct contradiction of God’s principles and expectation and yet it is one of the fundamental characteristics of the fallen nature.

At the core of humanism is the highest form of pride (in fact humanism can rightly be renamed ‘human pride’). It locates sufficiency, ability and capability in ‘self’ rather than in God.

This is in essence what pride is. At the basic level, pride is independence from God, the “I-don’t-need-God” feeling or attitude.

Pride is not only a sin, it is the platform upon which much, if not all of sin is constructed. One of the most fearful statements ever made in the entire Bible is “God resists the proud” (James 4:6, 1 Peter 5:5).

We can not even begin to imagine what it would be like for God to resist a man, to stand in opposition against a man. That man has got absolutely no chance.

The core of pride is ‘I’ or ‘me’ or ‘mine.’ Have you noticed how ‘I’ is in the middle of the words P-R-I-D-E and S-I-N? One of the areas we must conquer in our lives in order to live victoriously and walk effectively with God is the area of pride.

‘I’ must be dealt with.

The tendency for us to start floating on the murky waters of humanism as it were, to start to feel like we are sufficient in ourselves apart from God, must be nipped in the bud. We need to be able to pray like John the Baptist, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).

While we are still in the body of this flesh and may not yet be completely free from pride, yet we ought to be growing in our trust and dependence upon God, increasing in the yielding up of self, consolidating our stand in the place of humility both before God and man.

We need to deal ruthlessly with the ‘I’ that is in us. How much of our prayer, our budget, our time and resources, our ambitions and dreams are focused on ‘I’?

How many times have preachers felt like their oratory prowess and eloquence can make us preach effectively and have not even seriously prayed for God to move in and through us?

How many times have we felt we can on our own raise any money we need by asking our plethora of friends and partners and not felt the need to kneel in prayer over those needs?

These are only a couple of examples…there are several other ways that even Christian people today are yielding to the pressure of human pride today. God resists such. They cannot go far with God.

True humility is birthed not in human interactions but in man’s relationship with God where God replaces ‘I’.

The humility that becomes evident as we relate with each other is only a fruit of that inner spiritual realignment between ‘I’, self and God. The quality of the Christian life and experience can never be greater than the level to which ‘I’ has been dealt with in a person’s life.

As you read this, one question you must definitely ask yourself is ‘how much of self dominates my life, my thinking and my actions? Am I still largely ruled by ‘I’ or by God?

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