The Kingdom of Self

"Dear me!" remarked the Scarecrow, "what unhappy thoughts you have, to be sure.... My brains never borrow trouble. I would be ashamed of my brains if they kept shooting out thoughts that were merely fears and imaginings, such as do no good, but are likely to do harm." "For my part," said the Tin Woodman, "I do not think at all, but allow my heart to guide me at all times." The Tin Woodman of Oz - L Frank Baum

Theory

The kingdom of self is probably the most difficult thing a child of the Lord has to deal with. Just go to the bookstore and look at the number of books on relationships to get an idea of just how difficult. But I think that all those books have not made much impact, except maybe the counselor business is booming.

The Lord's solution is crucifixion. Your kingdom of self must die if Jesus is to be your Lord and King. When I had a lot of fundamentalist friends, the spin on this was 'positional crucifixion'. I was 'with him' on the cross 2000 years ago. But crucified with Christ is a very real event that happens in the life of every child of God (Julian of Norwich would say 'every one who is to be saved'). More on this later.

The kingdom of self gets in our way every day. Self will is what keeps counselors in business. The immediate answer, no matter what the problem, is to get into the presence - into the mind of your heart - and try to work this out in the spirit of Love, and the spirit of submitting one to another. Allow your heart to guide you at all times. You might have to give up your own desires..

I have it on good authority, that most - if not all - of our problems seem very small and far away when we are at one with the Spirit of Love.. The Eastern Orthodox response is guard your heart from these thoughts, a response I don't hear much from my Christian friends. Paul, I think has very balanced advice. He says on the one hand to submit one to another; and at the same time he counsels us to avoid negative selfish disruptive people. So if I have a negative, selfish, disruptive boss, I can just change jobs. But what if I have a negative, selfish, disruptive spouse?!? Lord have mercy on us..

Practice

This is an anytime meditation for use during a confrontation and/or when you are alone pleading for His Wisdom and Mercy.
Get into the presence. Offer your problem to the Lord. Offer your will to the Lord. Ask for the Lord's direction. Be still before Him and wait for His answer. If you find yourself thinking about your problem, or about 'what I want', start over.

More practice

Find a quiet spot. Disengage your rational mind. Get into the mind of your heart. Worship the Lord. If any thoughts distract you, ignore them and continue worshiping. Repeat as needed..

Foundation

Galatians 2:20 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.

Romans 16:17-18 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.

Ephesians 5:20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

Footnotes

Andrew Murray was a preacher in South Africa in the early 1900's. His congregation was scattered; and as he traveled from place to place, he wrote small instruction books so he could 'be there' when he wasn't there. His booklets found their way into the publishing world, and I think they are priceless. Highly recommended. This is where I learned about the kingdom of self. I was so smitten with his book 'Humility', that I bought a copy for everyone in my men's prayer group. Naturally (and to my surprise) they were all offended. One of them asked me 'Which one of us did you *really* buy the book for?' sigh.....