Strip off your old self, which follows your former ways of living and ruins you as it follows the desires that deceive you. Become new in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self, which is created to be like God, righteous and holy in the truth. Ephesians 4:22-24, MLB
I wanted to say, "Hey, I already thought of that!" but in my spirit, I knew that would be self-promotion, and I no longer live for myself. So I bit my tongue~again.
Why? Why do I still struggle with such selfish thoughts and desires?
I understood what Paul meant when he said, "Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!" Romans 7:24,25 NASB This our daily reality. To "strip off the old self and put on the new self"
The old self is the selfish self. The new creation bows to God in reverence and submission. When we become spiritually born (born again) we no longer succumb to our sinful self. We have a new heart, and a new life. But we still have to contend with the old self. It doesn't die when we become born again. We have to choose to crucify it daily.
Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. Luke 9:23
See? There it is...take up your cross. We have to crucify our old natural inclinations to focus on, to promote, or please ourself. Our new goal or focus it to promote and please God.
Our natural inclination in viewing ourselves tends to lean toward pride and arrogance such as Peter displayed when he told Jesus, "Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you." Or we lean toward inferiority such as Moses did when he said, "O Lord, I have never been eloquent...I am slow in speech and tongue...please send someone else to do it." In either case, the focus is on "I" and not God.
Our new life in Christ enables us to be balanced with humility and confidence. However this doesn't just happen overnight. It is something we have to walk out and attend to, as we trust and obey the Lord. This does mean we keep our eyes/thoughts fixed on Him.
Freedom comes from being content with who God made us to be. Knowing how cherished we are, we can rest in His love for us. Ephesians 1:3-14 talks about our identity. We are truly blessed, chosen, predestined, included, adopted, marked with the Holy Spirit, forgiven, redeemed, and have been given revelation knowledge of God's will. In Him, we are His Beloved!
"He made you and therefore understands you, and knows how to manage you, and you must trust Him to do it." Hannah Whitall Smith