Treasure In Earthen Vessels

Discovering the Indwelling Holy Spirit

What No One Told You about YourSelf August 20, 2013

I don’t think it is a big surprise to anyone that life is hard. If you haven’t figured that out yet, you either haven’t lived long enough or you’ve been really lucky. There is no escaping the difficulties of life—relationships, careers, finances, death—just life in general.  These struggles occur on the physical side of life.

 

The spiritual side of life is no different. Oblivious to many people, there is an enormous struggle going on in the hearts of men. The truth is we are subject to a mighty force called Self from the day we are born. Like the physical side of life, there is no escaping this struggle.

 

I fear that many of us have been misled about our Self. I have chosen to capitalize this word to give it the proper emphasis, acknowledging its power and position. We seems to have the idea that Self is the real me—the “I’ve gotta be me” mentality. It is considered to be something akin to personality, to be cultivated and protected, or else it might go away and the real me lost.

 

Strong individuality is part of the American culture. We have been taught that “rugged individualism” is linked to patriotism, courage, and success. We are proud when we can hold our heads high and declare, “I did this.” Even greater honor is given to one who says, “I did this by myself.”

 

It has taken years of grappling with this issue for me to see Self for what it is. It may come as a shock to you, as it did to me when this was clearly spelled out. As long as my idea of Self was merely a concept, I considered it in the gray area—the things I don’t have to take a stand on. But once I know the truth, I become accountable for what I do with that truth. (Read that again.)

 

J. Oswald Sanders, an internationally-known theologian, wrote this about Self: “In the heart of the believer, Self occupies the same relation to Satan as does the Holy Spirit to Christ, it is Satan’s representative in the heart. Even after many gross forms of evil have been evicted, Self remains to contest and usurp the claim of Christ to the throne of the redeemed life. It is guilty of high treason against the King of Kings, and is therefore worthy of death.”1

 

I believe we must wake up to the fact that our spiritual lives are being attacked, overrun, and controlled by this force known as Self. Like his father, Satan, Self is an all-out liar. He is also Selfish, Self-centered, Self-indulgent, Self-confident, Self-conscious, Self-willed, Self-assured, Self-exalting, and Self-justifying. In America, we even have what is known as the Self-made man. While we sometimes boast or jest about these qualities, in reality, they are the marks of Satan reigning in a life.

 

Do any of these describe you? They certainly describe me! Even in subtle ways that are difficult to detect and believed to be part of my personality, yet so totally unlike my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

 

Unless we recognize what is going on in our personal world, we will not be able to do anything about our predicament. Our muddled interpretation of Self will keep us paralyzed, and we will continue losing the battles, yielding to its power, and remain defeated Christians. Furthermore, our progress to be transformed into the image of Christ is on hold.2

 

The first step to freedom is the acknowledgment of bondage. The person who claims he or she has no bondage is simply not a candidate for freedom.

 

Until we acknowledge Self for what it is and admit that Self is reigning in our hearts rather than Jesus, we have no hope of being set free from its dominion over us. A mental ascent to the idea that we are legally set free from Self is not enough. Yes, we are legally free because of faith in the sacrificed blood of Jesus, but unless we appropriate that truth and apply it to our own personal lives, we will remain in bondage. After our eyes are opened to this truth and we knowingly allow this to continue, we are participating in “high treason against the King of Kings.”

 

Now I know and now I am accountable. I have never in my entire life been so motivated to oust the culprit of Self from the throne of my heart. I denounce this Self-led rebellion against my God, and by the mercy and grace of God I will find His provision for ridding my life of its control. Does anyone out there care to come along with me? ~ Janie Kellogg

 

 

1J. Oswald Sanders, Christ Indwelling and Enthroned, CCWM, Santa Ana, CA, 1949, pg. 46

22 Corinthians 3:18

 

For other related posts see poem “Since Self Is On the Throne,” Treasure in Earthen Vessels, March 6, 2013 (In Poetry Category)

 

 

A Special Someone on Valentine’s Day February 13, 2013

Filed under: Poetry — Janie Kellogg @ 9:09 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

It is good to love someone, and it is good to be loved by someone.

It is good to hold someone, and it is good to be held by someone.

It is good to cherish someone, and it is good to be cherished by someone.

It is good to have someone special, and it is good to be special to someone.

It is good to have someone as your sweetheart, and it is good to be someone’s sweetheart.

It is good to care for someone, and it is good to be someone who is cared for.

It is good to share your heart with someone, and it is good to have someone share their heart with you.

It is good to dream someone’s dreams, and it is good to have someone dream your dreams.

It is good to know the depth of someone’s soul, and it is good to have someone know the depth of your soul.

It is good to help someone make life’s decisions, and it is good to have someone help make the decisions in your life.

It is good to forgive someone’s faults and failures, and it is good to have someone forgive your faults and failures.

It is good to soothe someone’s heartache, and it is good to have someone soothe your aching heart.

It is good to put your arms around someone who is afraid, and it is good to feel someone’s arms around you when you are fearful.

It is good to bear the pain of someone who is hurting, and it is good to have someone bear your painful hurt.

It is good to hold someone’s hand when life is difficult, and it is good to have someone hold your hand in difficult times.

It is good to live life with someone, and it is good to have someone live life with you.

It is good to be one with someone, and it is good to have someone be one with you.

For God had said, “It is not good that man should be alone,” so He made for him a special someone.

 

Appreciate the “special someone” that God has given to you this Valentine’s Day.  ~Janie Kellogg

 

 

Confessions of a Seeker’s Heart January 15, 2013

The song replays in my head over and over. It isn’t the tune that lingers long after the Christmas Holidays; it is the implied meaning of the words: “Do you see what I see?” “Do you hear what I hear?” and “Do you know what I know?” I keep asking: Is it true—some see more, hear more, and know more than others?

 

Obviously, the characters of the song—the wind, the shepherd boy, and the mighty king—had different viewpoints from which to witness the miraculous birth of the Christchild.

 

The wind with no physical limitations could easily see “a star, a star dancing in the night with a tail as big as a kite” better than the little lamb.

 

The little lamb with no distractions should hear “a song, a song high above the trees with a voice as big as the sea” better than the shepherd boy.

 

The shepherd boy informed by an angel would know “a child, a child shivers in the cold” that the “mighty king in his palace warm” knew nothing about.

 

Each was in a place of optimum sight, sound, and knowing over those who saw, heard, and knew less. Or, could it have been their ability to see, hear, and know things in the spirit realm, and had nothing to do with where they were positioned? Regardless of what caused the disparity, it is apparent that some saw, heard, and knew more.

 

Is the same true of people? Some people see greater glimpses of God at work in the world than others. The still small voice of God—unnoticed and unrecognized by much of the world—is heard clearly by some. The Apostle Paul prayed that all the saints would know the width, length, height and depth of God’s love (Ephesians 3:18). Some do, but more don’t. Even the most perceptive among us are aware of only traces of God at work in our world. And what about me—how much do I see, hear, and know of the activities of God?

 

Moses obviously saw, heard, and knew more than the average Israelite. I think his forty days on the mountaintop were possibly days of sheer delight—days he didn’t want to end. At least, not end so that he could come down the mountain to deal with non-seeing-hearing-knowing people. Later, he asked to see God’s glory. God said that no one could see His face and live to tell about it. A compromise was struck—God granted his wish. He hid Moses in the cleft of a rock while His glory passed by, and Moses saw God’s back (Exodus 33:18-23).

 

Do I get that? God responds to those who want more. He only refused Moses’ request to see His face because God knew Moses couldn’t withstand such greatness! If I want to see God—He will let me. That is, He will reveal as much of Himself to me as I am able to endure.

 

I confess: I am not content with what I now see, hear and know. I want more. The more I get, the more I want. Seems I am never satisfied. More insight drives me to even more insight. Hearing His voice today makes me want to hear it again tomorrow. Knowing Him fuels my desire to know Him better.

 

How will I get more sight, sound, and knowing? The apostle Paul said, “…the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things” (Philippians 3:8). What was Paul willing to give up to fully know Jesus? All things. What will it take for me to fully know Jesus? The same.

 

In the meantime, here are the desires of this seeker’s heart:

 

I will continue to see glimpses—and O how wonderful those glimpses are!

 

I will continue to hear His still small voice now and then—striving to hear it above all other voices.

 

And, I will continue to know Him here a little and there a little—slowly and surely, as I am willing to give up those things that hinder me, I too will experience “the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.”  ~ Janie Kellogg

 

“Oh, the fullness, pleasure, and sheer excitement of knowing God on earth!” ~Jim Elliott