Welcome to Day 289 of our Wisdom-Trek, and thank you for joining me.
This is Guthrie Chamberlain, Your Guide to Wisdom
Principles of Spiritual Growth – Self
Thank you for joining us for our 7 days a week, 7 minutes of wisdom podcast. This is Day 289 of our trek. Yesterday we hiked on the 9th trail of this trek, which was the Trail of Consecration. Today our hike takes us to the Trail of Self.
There is a total of 18 trails on the trek we call the Principles of Spiritual Growth, which is adapted from a short book written by Miles J. Stanford. These practical lessons were instrumental in my spiritual growth as a young man seeking to create and live my legacy. As we continue on each trail of our overall trek, I trust that you will also find this information valuable in your own life, regardless of where you happen to be on your faith trek. Each of the trails that we hike builds on the previous one, so if you miss any of our Wisdom-Trek, please go to Wisdom-Trek.com to listen to them and read the daily journal.
We are recording our podcast from our studio at Home2 in Charlotte, North Carolina. We were able to take a break Sunday afternoon for a 4-mile walk as the weather was sunny and pleasant. Paula and I always enjoy our times of walking, as it spurs great conversations covering many aspects of our lives. Unless our plans change, we are heading back up to The Big House on Friday evening for a little over two weeks. We hope to get up there while the daffodils are still in bloom as we have missed seeing them in bloom the past couple of years. The daffodils come from ones that were around the property which my Granny planted, so they are special to us.
It is time to head out on our hike for today on the Trail of Self. This is a difficult trail because although we like to think of ourselves as being selfless, the contrary is true. Most of the thoughts that we have and the decisions that we make are centered on how we are going to benefit. Very few people, if any, are purely selfless in the decisions that they make. On our hike today, let us learn how to change our thinking about self when it comes to our relationship to God. This is the 10th of 18 trails which makes up the trek we call…
Principles of Spiritual Growth – Self
One of the most important factors in Christian growth is the Holy Spirit’s revelation of the self-life to the believer. Self is the fleshly, carnal life of nature, the life of the first Adam described in Ephesians 2:1, “Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins.” Even the Apostle Paul in the height of his ministry understood how difficult it is for us not to be a selfish person when he wrote Romans 7:18, “And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t.” Nowhere do spiritual principles mean more than here. Plato, with his “know thyself,” was more right than he knew but still only half right. Paul, in Galatians 2:20 says “…it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me…” and was 100% right!
In order for you to get beyond just knowing about the Lord Jesus and enter into a consistent and growing personal knowledge of and fellowship with Him, you must first come to know yourself. This is more than just introspection. It is the Holy Spirit guiding and teaching us through God’s Word and trusted mentors.
Here are a few items that we must learn first to grow from self-centered to Christ-centered:
Galatians 2:20 – My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
John 12:24 – I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives.
Romans 6:5-6 – Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin.
We must continually be learning about ourselves. Self-revelation precedes divine revelation—that is a principle for both spiritual birth and spiritual growth. As a believer, if you are going through struggle and failure, it is very possible that you are being carefully and lovingly handled by his Lord in a very personal way. You are being taken through the experience (which sometimes lasts for years) of self-revelation and into death to your self so that you can be shaped into the image of God. As the Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 3:10-11, “I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!”
God sometimes works in our life by paradox. Success comes through failure; victory comes through defeat; and yes, even life springs out of death. That is death to self. The only element in the believer’s life that crumbles away is that which has to go anyway. The new life can never be harmed or affected. Self will never cast out self.
Think of the analogy of the potter’s wheel. You start as a lump of clay and the master potter removes all the “self-parts” that are not to be part of the finished vessel. Another analogy is to think of the master goldsmith, by intense heat the gold is refined by removing all the dross that is not pure gold. Through God’s Spirit and His Word, He is the master potter and goldsmith working in our lives. So often the means utilized by the Spirit is adversity because most of the time we will not come to our sense of need until we feel the potter’s sculpting tools or the refiner’s fire.
We like to quote the verses Romans 8:28-29 as if God is going to work everything out for what we think is good, but let’s look at those verses again. The verses read, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” In these verses, God is working everything out for our good according to His purpose for us and His purpose for us is to make us become like His Son. Does that give these verses a bit of a different perspective to you? In order to become like His Son, we must have purged from our lives everything that is not in the image of God. That is difficult for all of us. Fortunately, it is not up to us to make that change, but Christ living in us that will. What is impossible with self is possible with God.
Someone has rightly said, “There are many ‘separated from the world’ Christians who are not ‘separated from themselves’ Christians.”
On our trekPrinciples for Spiritual Growth, today we have explored the truths about self that are found on the Trail of Self. Through God’s Holy Spirit and His Word, we can trim away self to be the appropriate vessel that God has destined us to be. We are created in God’s image through this process. His image will shine through who we are. This is a gradual process as we grow and mature in our faith.
Tomorrow we will begin a new hike on the Trail of Self-Denial, where we will come to understand that humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less. Every trail that we hike will help us to create and live our legacy each day. So, encourage your friends and family to join us, and then come along tomorrow for another day of our Wisdom-Trek, Creating a Legacy.
That will finish our podcast for today. As you enjoy your daily dose of wisdom, we ask you to help us grow Wisdom-Trek by sharing with your family and friends through email, Facebook, Twitter, or in person so they can come along with us each day.
Thank you for allowing me to be your guide, mentor, and most of all your friend as I serve you through the Wisdom-Trek podcast and journal each day.
As we take this trek together, let us always:
Live Abundantly (Fully)
Lend to others Generously
Lead with Integrity
Leave a Living Legacy Each Day
This is Guthrie Chamberlain reminding you to Keep Moving Forward, Enjoy Your Journey, and Create a Great Day Every Day!See you tomorrow!