Nuggets from “An Urgent Call to a Serious Faith” by Dave Hunt – Does Peace Come by Finding Ourselves or by Being Delivered from Ourselves?
Yes, God in His grace will give us crowns and rewards and we will even hear from our Lord’s lips, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant…enter thou into the joy of thy Lord” (Matthew:25:21). But will that give us a positive self-image, a sense of self-worth and self-esteem? C. S Lewis answers: “The child who is patted on the back for doing a lesson well…the saved soul to whom Christ says, ‘Well done,’ are pleased and ought to be. For here the pleasure lies not in what you are but in the fact that you have pleased someone you rightly wanted to please. The trouble begins when you pass from thinking, ‘I have pleased him,’ to thinking, ‘What a fine person I must be to have done it.’”
Our love for God even influences whether we yield to temptation. Lust is called both “deceitful” (Ephesians:4:22) and “hurtful” (1 Timothy:6:9) because it entices us with pleasure that is brief and involves disobedience to God and thus leads to pain and ruin in the end. Those whose focus is upon themselves think of God’s commandments in terms of pleasures denied. But those who are enraptured by God’s love have been delivered from self and find true and lasting pleasure and joy in obeying and thus pleasing Him. There is a joy that comes from pleasing God that is so far beyond any pleasure of this world that temptation loses its power in comparison.
The new theology denies us this path of victory. Its joy is selfish. To obey the first and great commandment is necessarily to deny self as Christ commanded (Matthew:16:24). Nor can one deny self and at the same time love, esteem, and value self. Seeing God’s love as a response to my significance and worth salvages just enough value for self to deny God’s truth. Let us forget ourselves, our needs, and hurts, and seek to know and love God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) because of who He is and His love and grace to us. His love will then flow through us to others, whom we will then esteem better than ourselves (Philippians:2:3). Such is the path to true joy (Hebrews:12:2).