The Fear of ‘I’

 

I don’t like to write about myself.  Even writing that sentence has filled me with a moderate level of anxiety, and a sort of guilt.  As a believer, it feels somehow wrong to speak about oneself – immodest, unbecoming.  Many other believers blog about their lives and share their personal testimonies, speaking about themselves in a way which has helped others, including myself.  I don’t condemn that, not at all – I’ve begun to learn that what’s right for others may not be right for me.  I need to learn that I need to tread my own pathway in dependence upon the Lord, in self-judgement, and not looking to judge other believers for what their conscience permits them to do, but mine doesn’t.

Why do I not like writing about myself?  Perhaps it’s because I look at my life and I feel ashamed.  I feel ashamed of my sins of commission and omission – the secret acts of wilfulness, selfishness, and cold neglect.  I can look at myself, sighing, and truly say, “For I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, good does not dwell…” (Romans 7 v 18).  I don’t like to write about myself because that requires self-examination and self-judgement that I’d rather avoid.  Yet there’s another reason.  Fear.  Fear that Satan will find another point of attack, my pride, occupation with self, so that I become “vainly puffed up by the mind of [my] flesh” (Colossians 2 v 18).  I fear that some natural ability of mine, knowingly or unknowingly revealed, will be praised by others, and I’ll find that praise intoxicating.  Praise would make me feel adequate for a while, when I know in my heart how inadequate I am.  The praise of men can be a weapon in the hands of the enemy.  It’s so very true that “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are profuse.” (Proverbs 27 v 6).

As I write this, a great sense of relief has come over me – I have the answer to my difficulty.  I remember the words of John the baptist which are on my WordPress profile: “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3 v 30).  If I speak about myself, I don’t need to speak about my failures, my weaknesses, or promote myself in an effort to forget these things.  My failures and weaknesses are very real, and I have to judge the flesh which they stem from, and have done with it.  “Faithful are the wounds of a friend” – there’s no Friend more faithful than the God we adore.  How often I need the loving wounds He inflicts – the gentle rebukes and chastening of my heavenly Father, the discipline which makes me a truer disciple.  The more I make way for the Spirit, the less I make room for my flesh, the more I’ll decrease.  And the more I decrease, the more scope I’ll have to speak about myself.

Only, I won’t be speaking about myself – the self that I’m ashamed of and afraid of.  Self will have ceased to occupy me, and when I present myself to others, what they’ll see is the wonderful work of God in me, shining out.  That’s what I find so heartening and encouraging, that there is a work of God in me which is perfect and untouchable, and not in any way affected by my failure.  There’s a beautiful inevitability to the progress of this great work in my soul – the apostle Paul could write to the Philippians, “having confidence of this very thing, that he who has begun in you a good work will complete it unto Jesus Christ’s day.” (Philippians 1 v 6).  There’s a great end in view, and God will secure it.  Of course, I am responsible not to grieve the Spirit of God, to make way for that divine workmanship to progress, but it will progress, that I can be sure of.  I don’t need to look to my own poor flesh to find the strength to go on – every resource is found in God.  I don’t need to apply my limited thoughts to what the next step should be – the great thoughts of God have encompassed everything.  I simply need to trust Him.

“Confide in Jehovah with all thy heart, and lean not unto thine own intelligence; in all thy ways acknowledge him, and he will make plain thy paths.” – Proverbs 3 v 5-6

What an antidote to self!  What amazing reassurance!  I couldn’t remove one sin by myself, but my Saviour removed every single one, washed them away in His blood.  I can’t take one step in my own strength, but in Jesus I find the resource for every single step on the pathway.  If my pathway is on the plain paths set out by God, then there’ll be so much I can speak about of His goodness, faithfulness, power, and holiness, to the glory of God, and to the encouragement of my fellow pilgrims.

“My soul shall make its boast in Jehovah: the meek shall hear, and rejoice.” – Psalm 34 v 2

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