Like many, I have often prayed in desperation, "Lord, please get the 'me' out of me! Help me to get my focus off of myself so that I can be filled with more of you."
Yet, no matter how far we journey with the Lord, "me" seems to still be around.
At the center of everything should be Jesus Christ. Yet, you can be in a situation where God pulls back the covers to let you see yourself and guess who is standing there?? It is not Christ after all, but "me".
You may have thought your motivations were righteous, but there is "me" - standing front and center, smiling back at you. This can be a truly frustrating experience.
However, I believe that many times God lets us go through situations just so we can see how much of "me" is still in operation in our lives (Luke 22:31). Like the innumerable minions in the "Despicable Me" movie, there are as many shades of "me" as imaginable.
There is the Argumentative "me" who always wants to be right.
The Idle "me" who doesn't commit to anything and shies away from discipline.
The Proud "me" who prefers to justify wrongs instead of accepting responsibility for them.
The Self-indulgent "me" who wants to be pampered and catered to rather than be put out.
The Defensive "me" who cannot take correction.
The Stiff-necked "me" who is quick to run off doing its own will without asking God, but then begging Him to fix things when they don't go as planned.
The Hypocritical "me" who is quick to see shortcomings in others, but cannot seem to gain the victory over personal sin.
There are too many "me"s to name, but perhaps the worse one is the Religious "me" who actively does and says all the right Christian things, but has no thirst for the transforming life of the Spirit within.
At the end of the day, the only "me" we need - the only one "me" which matters - is the "me" who is a reflection of "Him".
As soon as we enter salvation, you would think that our Master Physician would wield the sword of the Spirit, cut out all of "me", toss it in the sea of forgetfulness, and fill us with Himself. But that is not how it works.
"In your patience possess ye your souls." Luke 21:19
Pastor Gary Price once described the old man as a huge tree in your front yard. You can chop away at all the visible parts of the tree until you get down to the stump, but you have still not gotten rid of the tree.
That tree has a root system which thrives underground with a network extending 2-4 times the diameter of the trunk. Essentially, this means that what is unseen (the roots) is often much more expansive than the visible part of the tree.
Many Christians spend lots of time chopping away at branches and trimming the outward manifestations of the "tree", but never get to what lies under the surface.
I no longer smoke...I don't curse...I don't listen to certain music or watch certain shows...I don't fornicate...I worship on the Sabbath...I pay my tithes...I serve as a Deacon at church... They falsely believe that these things make them a believer in Jesus Christ.
No matter how we dress it up or cut it down, unless we deal with the root, then that tree is still alive and well. The root of the old "me" must be addressed if we are to walk in newness of life in Christ, for that is what it means to be a Christian.
"And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire." Matthew 3:10
"Me" doesn't need to be comforted. "Me" doesn't need to be nurtured. "Me" doesn't need a word of encouragement. "Me" doesn't need to get in touch with its 'inner child' in order to be understood. The answer for "me" is the cross. The cross is the answer for me.
"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." Galatians 2:20
Then He hung there for quite some time while the people continued to mock Him, to the point where He felt like His own Father had forsaken Him. The way of the cross can also seem very lonely; it is not a place that friends and loved ones can walk with you. There is only you and the Lord. Yet He endured these things by keeping His mind on the joy which awaited Him (Hebrews 12:2).
"Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." Psalms 139:23-24
This is exactly why it takes patience. The roots of "me" are so expansive, that it would literally destroy us if God were to remove it all at once. So He delivers us little by little as we are able to bear it.
The more that "me" is crucified, the more God's Spirit can fill us and the more Christ can be seen in us. That is why we are encouraged not to grow weary in well doing and not to faint. Don't give up, but keep pressing on while God works in us to accomplish His perfect will.
Many are willing to accept what Christ has done for us, but what are we willing to do for Him? Are we willing to sacrifice our lives so that He may live? Are we willing to take up our own cross every day and follow Him? It is only as we present ourselves as living sacrifices that we can please Him.
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." Romans 12:1-2
Don't get discouraged, but take comfort even in God's chastisement, for He only chastens those who are His sons. He is conforming us into His image, which requires that the very essence of who we are be transformed. It is not an overnight process, but He is more than faithful to complete it.
Just remember that the answer for "me" is the cross. "Me" runs deep, but the power of the cross runs deeper!
"For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God." I Corinthians 1:18