You may think I am kidding with THAT title, but I am not. The big “I” in me wants to call the shots. I want to do what pleases “ME”. And that’s probably true for most of you who read this letter. I have a young friend who for the eight years that I have known him has insisted over and over again that he wants to walk with God and to be a man of God. But he hasn’t yet come to the place where he will let God set the pattern for his life. His big “I” still responds to the soul and flesh, and he has never come to the place where God is the Lord over his life.
If we are honest with ourselves, we like the things that the affluent life produces in the way of pleasures. In my own experience, I know how tough it is to turn loose of the desire for things that money can buy and turn all of “ME” over to the rulership of God Almighty. It’s still a battle, and I have found that the battle ebbs and flows with the constant changing of influence, moods, and attitude. As these swings occur, the tug upon the flesh is heightened until it cries out for self-satisfaction.
It is then that we find all sorts of ways to justify actions that we would never take while we are under the direction of the Holy Spirit. And we don’t get any help from the modern contrivances of the world. Since almost every invention devised by man in these days produces just another easing off of the demands of life-stresses, we find our defenses weakened to an awesome degree. Modern gimmickry, both in implementation and promotion, paints a lurid picture of how to satisfy self – the big “I”.
In recent trips among the “bush” people of southern Africa, we saw life as it is lived in its simplest form. And we saw people with the simplest child-like faith receiving the giftings of God in great multiples. There are very few choices in their daily lives. If it’s edible, they eat it and don’t quibble about how good it tastes. If it’s a garment without too many holes, they wear it regardless of color coordination. If it has wheels, they ride it, no matter how rough or how dusty the road. And when the Lord began to heal with miracles, they submitted gladly, no matter what sort of experience the Spirit put upon them. They came, many of them for the first time, seeking for a personal encounter with God and He met them! Never-the-less, they hear from the white Christians who have come out from North America or Europe, some who will tell them, “. . .that’s not God’s way.” These people’s “I” was not pleased with what they saw and heard, because it didn’t fit their pre-conceived notions about who God was nor how He works.
Getting back to my young friend; he says, “I really do want to please the Lord.” And he thinks he is doing all that is necessary to give God free access to his life, but he isn’t. And so, he is deceived! Recently he got married, so now he has someone else for whom he should be making a major sacrifice to fulfill and please. And I don’t think he can see that he is not doing it, because he is not seeking to please the Lord. We cannot pleasure others without, at the same time, pleasuring God. (Eph. 1:5, 11)
From Jay Fesperman’s “Letters of Exhortation”, Volume 5, Number 2, March/April 1985.