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YOU AND YOURSELF (Guest article by Larry A. Shelley)

August 14, 2013


Where are you when you are not with yourself?  Therefore, does it not follow that you place the care of yourself above all other cares?  But you reply, “What about JOY?  Jesus first; others second; and yourself last?”  That acrostic has a sound of religious wisdom, but I wonder how accurate it is.  Yes, for sure, we must not think of ourselves more highly than we ought. (Romans 12:3)

However, every person must realize that his soul is more valuable than the whole world. (Mt. 16:26)  We get one go at life, and after that is judgment.  In this life nothing can be more pressing than our individual preparations to meet Him who gave us life.  Jesus Himself admonishes us that we are neither prepared nor qualified to help someone else with their sins until we have first examined our own lives and addresses our own sins. (Mt. 7:1ff.)  Even He, before beginning His ministry, fulfilled all righteousness by submitting to John’s baptism and winning against powerful temptations during a forty day wilderness fast.

Our debt to ourselves cannot be easily overstated.  Our hearts, being untrustworthy, readily deceive us. (Jer. 17:9)  What we abhor in others, we lightly excuse in ourselves.  We condemn small matters in others, but pass over the most egregious of sins in ourselves.  We think ourselves greatly offended in others, but may never consider the effects of our own actions.  Without forgetting our responsibilities to others, we must look first inwardly.  The preventive of self-examination, then, keeps us seeing clearly to help them—if help they need.  (Gal. 6:1ff)

We  may enjoy organizing other people’s lives when, frankly, it’s not our business.  That was one of Peter’s many problems.  Jesus gave him a peek into the path of his life, and straightway Peter wanted to know about John’s.  Jesus kindly, but firmly, responded to Peter, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you?  You follow Me.” (Jn. 21:22)  Get the point?  He deals with us one by one.  Our own cup is full just keeping our eyes on Him.  You, follow Him!

Larry A. Shelley

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