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Mr. Ego - is he Your Friend or Foe?

Mr. Ego - Friend or Foe?


Your ego has two faces.


He is like a fire. As a servant he can be a friend. As your master he is dangerous!
Ego must never become your master! The higher he lifts you, the harder you fall.


How do we handle the rascal?


A friend with a self-image problem told me this story.


"It was very embarrassing to be told that my chief enemy was not the "guy out there," but that he was hiding inside my own heart. To hide his identity this culprit took on my looks and even dressed like me. I saw him every day, and enjoyed his company. When friends told me that many of my problems were due to my own ego, I couldn't believe it and became very upset.


The reason that statement made me mad, was because I had no problem relating to God. It was His people who always seemed to trip me up and put me on the defensive.


Yet one thing bothered me. When I offended someone, and realized that I had been indiscreet, I could not bring myself to immediately step out and say those two simple words, ‘I'm sorry!' I would try to compensate for my error in some indirect way, but could not come clean. Why? Why was it so hard to admit to having been an offense to someone?"


I know a lady who had the same trouble. When she inadvertently did something that offended her husband, she could not for the life of her say those two magic words, "I'm sorry," and get it over with. Rather, she would spend hours fixing up his favorite meal, or doing something that she knew he loved, hoping to indirectly compensate for her offensive action. One day he said to her, "Wouldn't it be much easier on you if you just said, "I'm sorry?" All the work she was doing because of a guilty conscience didn't really erase the problem anyway. She was only building a bone pile of unresolved issues. This made me wonder if God is impressed when I "do nice things for Him" rather than simply repenting and accepting His forgiveness.


I've listened to people admit that they knew they had problems in this area, and that they were praying and asking the Lord to please help them to do the right thing, but nothing was working. Let's pull the wraps, the self-righteous rags off the rascal who is hiding in our closet and see what he looks like. Surprise! Why, his name is Ego !


Ego's middle name is Pride. He always has to look good. He has to save face at any price. To admit failure in any area goes against his nature. Reputation is his main currency. Façade is Ego's defense. To admit wrong would kill him!


This is the enemy that King David found lurking in his closet. How could royalty confess such a blatant sin to his people? That was unthinkable, because his royal mystique would be tarnished and people might lose confidence in this "man of God!" Yes, he had to do something to fix things up, but how could he do it and save face? Save face? Isn't that the temptation we all struggle with? We just can't admit that we are human! There was only one way to deliver himself from the pit he had dug for himself when he stole another man's wife, and that was to come clean and admit openly that even a king can act like a scoundrel.
Even as God sent the prophet Nathan to help King David to crawl out of his closet, and to save his soul, so He sends His Spirit to deal with your conscience and mine. Yes, salvation is a gift of God. It is not something we do for ourselves, but Scripture is clear that we do have a part to play in it and that part is to say, "Yes" to the voice of conscience. God will set us free, but He will not stoop to tie the shoes of a person who refuses to take responsibility for his own actions.


When the angel opened the prison doors and took the chains off Peter's feet, He did not tie Peter's shoelaces, but told him to do it himself. God is not our servant or valet! He is God, and He requires that we grow up to behave like adults and be responsible for our actions. That is what is meant in Philippians 2:12,13.
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed...continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.


Yes, salvation is free, but we do have a very vital part to play in it. We must show our appreciation by co-operating with the Holy Spirit and saying, "Yes" every time he points out where and how we must change our thinking patterns and our behavior. The self-preserving ego is your worst enemy! If you are not careful he will destroy you while pretending to protect you. He is the Trojan horse that cuts you up from inside, and then leads you to suspect your wife, or your neighbor.


When Paul said that he had to die daily, he was talking about his ego. 1 Corinthians 15:31. That face-saving rascal is the enemy that creates walls between friends and insulates us against the forgiving Spirit of Christ.


A common error that people make when they first discover that their relationship with God is established as a result of God's initiative, is to adopt the extreme position that because God accepts us while we are still in filth, He won't mind if we can just hang on to the parts of it that we have learned to relish. That is an insult to a holy God! Separation from all things ungodly is the work of a lifetime. It does not all take place at the moment of birth. There it begins. That is the reason Jesus said that the work of the Holy Spirit is to lead us to maturity. John 16: 7-15 indicates a life-long process of growth and maturing.


Even love to one another, the fruit of the Spirit, is a learning process by which the ego is exposed and gradually dethroned. Until we honor and prefer one another above self, we have not yet emerged from the Dark Ages. The theory of truth, or merely understanding correct doctrine will not save us. Jesus did not come to teach us about life. He came to give us life!


There is no sadder situation than to find seemingly sincere people debating over man-made doctrines while none of them has entered into the Spirit-to-spirit intimacy with Jesus that would seal us as members of the household of God. It is easier to get into heaven with your facts wrong and an honest faith in Jesus, than by having your facts straight but never having accepted the mellowing and forgiving love of God that will transform you into a non-judgmental and forgiving saint.


Is it possible to be happy and experience fulfillment with your ego dethroned? Yes! Definitely yes! After I realized how Paul, as well as other saints, did find release from the struggle with self-preservation, I decided to throw caution to the winds and "risk" it. Yes, there were times when it seemed that I had jumped off the dock and that I was in free-fall, but true to His Word, the Lord was there at my side. All things did work out for good. Romans 8:28. The important thing is not to act presumptuously, but to wait till the Lord confirms His Word with peace in your spirit, and only then to move as He directs. That explains Paul's confidence when he wrote:
...I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have
entrusted to Him for that day. 2 Timothy 1:12.


Here Paul was no longer the victim of his old passion to merely know about Christ. He discovered that facts about Christ were secondary at best. His spiritual eyes were opened so that he actually met and experienced Christ in his own spirit. Now he knew Christ on a personal and intimate level. That is the only experience that will truly release us from the futile struggle to fulfill ourselves.


Those whose spiritual eyes and ears have been opened will behold the "One who has the ‘key of David'!" Revelation 3:7. That key opens our eyes to see into the realm of the Spirit.


By allowing the One who holds the Key of David to take control of, and subdue the ego, the enemy within, the born again spiritual descendant of David becomes a priest king. The tongue is the unruly member that betrays the unsubdued, controlling ego. He who holds the key of David has opened salvation's door to the heavenly Jerusalem, our Mother city, where we will find the love, peace with one another and joy that is our spiritual inheritance. Galatians 4:26.


There is an old hymn that sums up the predicament of any one who may presume to appear before our King with any sense of self-worth apart from "Christ in you, the hope of glory."


The moral man came to the judgment,
But his self-righteous rags would not do;
The men who had crucified Jesus
Had passed off as moral men too.


Our question should be, do I enjoy a personal and intimate relationship with Jesus my Savior? Can I, with Paul the apostle, say with a clean conscience,
...I am not ashamed, for I know - I perceive, have knowledge of and am acquainted with Him - Whom I have believed ( adhered to and trusted in and relied on), and I am [positively] persuaded that He is able to guard and keep that which has been entrusted to me and which I have committed [to Him], until that day. 2 Timothy 1:12 (Amp).


Samuel Pestes
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