The Self stakes out its own territory

By Dave Henning / August 21, 2020

“Over time throughout our lives, the Self stakes out its own territory within us to assure getting its own way, ordering our world to its likings.  It has imbedded assumptions and privileges in our psyche; there’s a momentum to its desires, motives, and presence in us.  I call this the Self Life.  It’s the Self Life in us that so easily takes offense, enjoys taking offense.”- John Eldredge (emphasis author’s)

John Eldredge continues Chapter 9 of Get Your Life Back as he underscores that the concept of Self Life isn’t a matter of Christian versus non-Christian.  Because there’s a religious version of Self Life.  For example, John observes, the Self Life feels wronged when church services run late.  Or builds irritation when prayer time runs long.  And since the Self Life focuses totally on the here and now, it gives no thought to Christ’s return.  In fact, it’s quietly angry when people suggest our hopes should be set on eternity.

Above all, Satan claims a secret hold in each one of us – an access point from within.  That trap door = the Self.  However, the devil shows no particular concern regarding your personal sins, how he gets you to stumble.  Instead, Satan delights in the internal access he has to your soul.  Therefore, as long as you entertain and pamper the Self so it gets its own way, you crowd out the life of God.

But, John stresses, your personhood isn’t the problem.  Rather, the issue centers on who stands at the helm – or gets to drive the bus.  What fuels and motivates your faculties?

Self rule obscures our awareness of God and thwarts our ability to receive Him.  As John explains, getting rid of this self provides enormous relief:

“Because the Self is bound to disappoint; it falls short, it fails to reach our ideal view of ourselves, it causes us to do things we later regret, and we end up under the clouds of self-hatred.  The Self is a mighty poor savior and an utterly empty god.  Which is why being rid of the exalted Self is such a glorious relief.”

Today’s question: In what ways has the Self stakes out its own territory in you?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Total abandonment of the Self Life”

About the author

Dave Henning

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