Fighting Our Preoccupation With Self

How you feel, pretty much in every moment, is connected to how you believe things are going relative to your sense of self. It is out of our identity, and perception of self, that our motives and actions flow. The Gospel answers our fallen self-obsession with a great work of grace in Christ.

In this episode of the Everyday Disciple Podcast, we’ll examine what drives our pride and continual self-focus, and how the Gospel leads us to freedom and relational peace.

In This Episode You’ll Learn:

  • How your understanding of God’s stance against pride may be wrong.
  • Why we spend so much time focused on self and what others think.
  • Why thinking less of yourself is not the answer to pride.
  • How the Gospel leads us to focus more on Jesus and less on ourselves.

 

Fighting Our Preoccupation With Self

From this episode:

The remedy for our preoccupation with self is a greater and growing focus and preoccupation with Jesus and his perfection. Not our DO to BE list of accomplishments, not focusing on our failures, not working hard to see others as ‘more’ and ourselves as less. And not just trying harder to be a good person or a good Christian. No… it’s rightly seeing God for who he is, in connection to ourselves.

Each week the Big 3 will give you immediate action steps to get you started.
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Links and Resources Mentioned in This Episode:

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Transcript
Caesar:

Humility is not thinking less of yourself.

Caesar:

It's thinking rightly about yourself in comparison to God and his perfect righteousness, the remedy for our preoccupation, with self.

Caesar:

Is a greater and growing focus and preoccupation with Jesus and his perfection, not our do to be list of accomplishments, not focusing on our failures, not working hard to see others as more and ourselves as less and not just trying hard to be a good person or a good Christian.

Caesar:

No, it's rightly seen God for who he is . In connection to ourselves.

Announcer:

Welcome to the Everyday Disciple Podcast where you'll learn how to live with greater intentionality and an integrated faith that naturally fits into every area of life in other.

Announcer:

Discipleship as a lifestyle.

Announcer:

This is the stuff your parents, pastors, and seminary professors probably forgot to tell you.

Announcer:

And now here's your host Caesar.

Caesar:

Kalinowski okay, here we

Caesar:

go.

Caesar:

Good to be back together.

Caesar:

So grateful to be here with you.

Caesar:

This is awesome.

Caesar:

Hope you're having a good week.

Caesar:

I am.

Caesar:

Um, you probably remember, I am kind of on vacation, but I

Caesar:

pre-recorded all this, but, uh, yeah, so I'm having a great week.

Caesar:

. I hope you are as well.

Caesar:

I hope things are going swimmingly and you're experiencing grace.

Caesar:

Right.

Caesar:

Hey, I wanna read a review.

Caesar:

Came in for the podcast.

Caesar:

, this one is, um, from ag keen and I think I know who this is, Aaron this must be you.

Caesar:

Huh?

Caesar:

It

Announcer:

says the Everyday Disciple Podcast is a

Caesar:

practical way to grow, learn and be challenged and receive comfort in the journey of living the life of faith.

Caesar:

As Jesus intended, becoming disciples who make disciples because of the Gospel Gospel.

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Wow could have wrote that myself.

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It says Caesar does a great job at keeping it practical and real.

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The challenges he gives are never

Announcer:

insurmountable, but they also don't allow you to

Caesar:

just be comfortable with the status quo in your life.

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So that's really nice.

Caesar:

Thanks

Announcer:

brother.

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That's like I said, almost like I wrote

Caesar:

it myself.

Caesar:

I love it when we get reviews and some stars.

Caesar:

Thanks for those five stars is where as well.

Caesar:

Aaron.

Caesar:

And, uh, I wanna invite you to subscribe on whatever platform you listen to podcasts on, please do.

Caesar:

And that way it'll just boom, drop right into your device for you every Monday morning, you won't miss any episodes.

Caesar:

And if you could also

Announcer:

take the whole 30 seconds to leave us a

Caesar:

review of the show, that'd be so great.

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Some stars, things like that.

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I just got notice that now Amazon music, which is growing and growing and growing Amazon now has podcasts.

Caesar:

And they sent me a notice saying, Hey, the

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Everyday Disciple Podcast.

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Boom

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on Amazon now.

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So there's a little announcement as well.

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All right.

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So if you're not

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sure, like if you've been listening to the, to the everyday supple podcast,

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um, on our website, which is fine, and you can keep doing that, but you'd like to maybe get an app on your phone or something.

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That's a little more podcast, uh, user friendly.

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Uh, there's all kinds of things out.

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That you can listen to these days, you can go to everyday Disciple dot com slash subscribe, and you'll see a whole bunch of different players you can go to and check it out, find one you like, and then subscribe there.

Caesar:

How about that?

Caesar:

All right.

Caesar:

So

Announcer:

today as promised, we're gonna talk about fighting

Caesar:

our preoccupation with self, and I know right away that sounds a little heavy.

Caesar:

Um, but it's really pretty.

Caesar:

Okay.

Caesar:

I think, I think, yeah, you think you're gonna dig this?

Caesar:

I put a lot of time into thinking through this.

Caesar:

I really have.

Caesar:

And, um,

Caesar:

but here's something that I've become increasingly

Caesar:

aware of in my own life.

Caesar:

Uh, see, see if you can relate from my perspective.

Caesar:

Um,

Caesar:

everything's about

Caesar:

me.

Caesar:

Mm-hmm yeah, everything is about me and then me

Caesar:

and then a little bit more of me.

Caesar:

My life is lived through the lens of my

Caesar:

experience completely as I perceive it.

Caesar:

And I

Caesar:

wonder if it could even really be any other way, right?

Caesar:

Like we perceive our life through the lens of our experience.

Caesar:

You see

Caesar:

how I feel pretty much in every moment is connected to how I believe things are going relative to my sense of self.

Caesar:

I've said this before.

Caesar:

Um, I've noticed that my life and my day feels like it's going perfect.

Caesar:

When everything's going the way I want it to, and no one's pushing up against my ideas or my false sense of security or identity, or, you know what I mean?

Caesar:

Right.

Caesar:

And, and we've talked about this, um, that everything revolves around us and our perceived identity that it's out of our identity and perception of self that our motives and our actions flow.

Caesar:

That's why in discipleship.

Caesar:

And we say, which is the process of moving from unbelief to belief in every area of life.

Caesar:

So much of that shift starts with, and probably continues lifelong journey of, of moving to a true understanding and belief of ourself rightly and our true identity.

Caesar:

Right.

Caesar:

So our

Caesar:

experience is shaped pretty much exclusively by

Caesar:

our thoughts of how we relate to things and how everything, and everyone relates to the person who we believe ourselves to be.

Caesar:

Don't miss that.

Caesar:

I'm gonna say that again, just cuz it's so important that our, our

Caesar:

experience is pretty much shaped by our thoughts and how we relate to.

Caesar:

Things and how everything, and everyone else relates to the person who we believe ourselves to be.

Caesar:

And, and the truth is this is exactly the cause of our stress and our unhappiness and any relational strife that we're experiencing.

Caesar:

It's me, me, me right.

Caesar:

Okay.

Caesar:

So enough about me.

Caesar:

What do you think about me.

Caesar:

See how it goes.

Caesar:

Just keeps going.

Caesar:

It's endless.

Caesar:

Oh, okay.

Caesar:

Hey, CS Lewis said once the true humility is not thinking less of ourselves, but thinking of ourselves less.

Caesar:

Maybe you've heard that, right.

Caesar:

The truth is we can spend a lot of time thinking less of ourselves, like, oh, I just suck.

Caesar:

Oh, it's, I'm so bad.

Caesar:

And I'm so not worthy.

Caesar:

Right.

Caesar:

But we still end up

Caesar:

thinking a lot about ourselves that doesn't fix anything.

Caesar:

All of this is connected to the issue of pride.

Caesar:

Ultimately.

Caesar:

So I thought right here at the beginning of this discussion, let's talk about pride for a minute or two.

Caesar:

And, and I

Caesar:

think we may find that we have some false understanding

Caesar:

connected to pride in God's response to it.

Caesar:

Now, a very common verse that's often quoted from scripture in connection to pride and humility is James four, six, right.

Caesar:

Says, but he gives more grace.

Caesar:

That is why scripture says God opposes the proud, but shows favor.

Caesar:

Or some translations say grace to the humble.

Caesar:

Let me read that whole thing again.

Caesar:

God, God opposes the proud, but he shows favor or grace to the humble.

Caesar:

Now here's, what's interesting.

Caesar:

The phrase used here as the proud, in other words, God opposes the proud is actually in the original language in the Greek and adjective.

Announcer:

It's not a noun or a pronoun.

Announcer:

So translated

Caesar:

the way that a lot of translations have done it, it makes God

Announcer:

out to be the enemy

Caesar:

and opponent of the proud person,

Announcer:

which would mean he's the enemy

Caesar:

of everyone.

Announcer:

Right.

Announcer:

That's not good news.

Announcer:

Um, and I've heard probably

Caesar:

a lifetime of preaching about this.

Caesar:

In fact, recently, even researching this, I heard someone, uh, on a very popular known website and all this saying, Hey, your pride makes you the enemy of God.

Caesar:

And God's your like cosmic enemy.

Caesar:

And he has to oppose you.

Caesar:

And I'm like, whoa, but see, that's not actually, that's not an accurate translation.

Caesar:

Like I said, that's an adjective,

Caesar:

not a noun or pronoun now, you know?

Caesar:

So it's, not

Caesar:

you that God's opposing what God is opposing

Caesar:

is the prideful

Caesar:

attitude, the adjective, not the person.

Caesar:

Stick with

Caesar:

me.

Caesar:

Hold on.

Caesar:

Now, let me get, let me get back up in the verse.

Caesar:

God opposes the proud, the word in Greek.

Caesar:

That's translated

Caesar:

here as opposes.

Caesar:

So it's like, oh, you know, like I'm taking up a stick against you.

Caesar:

I'm taking up arms against you comes from two root words in the Greek and it carries with it.

Caesar:

These two interconnected meanings.

Caesar:

Okay.

Caesar:

So oppose.

Caesar:

Right.

Caesar:

You know, you know, you know how we, what we think that means like, oh, I'm against you.

Caesar:

I'm set against you.

Caesar:

Here's what it means, really.

Caesar:

It means instead of, or in place of something, what, and it's, then it's connected to the second idea and route of,

Caesar:

to place in a certain

Caesar:

order or to arrange, to assign a place.

Caesar:

Hmm.

Caesar:

So more accurately understood.

Caesar:

And this would be a whole lot better news for us.

Caesar:

James is telling us that God puts himself in the place of, or next to.

Caesar:

Our attitudes about self and others, and he places them in a certain order in a corrected place or order.

Caesar:

In

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other words, God places, his perfect righteousness and perfect

Caesar:

record alongside ours.

Caesar:

And that's pretty humbling.

Caesar:

Isn't it?

Caesar:

Isn't it.

Caesar:

You see how different that is than God

Caesar:

opposes the proud.

Caesar:

So now he's your eternal

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he cosmic enemy.

Caesar:

No, what he's doing is he's setting the record straight and that humbles us.

Caesar:

That humbles us.

Caesar:

Now let's not move on until we take a look at the rest of this verse, but he shows favor or some translations, I think rightly so say grace, that's unmerited favor to the humble again, that word there translated.

Caesar:

As you know, he shows favor to the humble.

Caesar:

Like we hear it as the humble person, um, is an adjective.

Caesar:

It's not a pronoun, so it's not talking about the person which more accurately

Announcer:

than means.

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He's showing grace to those.

Announcer:

Who've been

Caesar:

humbled by his placing of his perfect record of righteousness next to their do to be list of accomplishment.

Caesar:

Wow.

Caesar:

That is big.

Caesar:

See right away, that starts to rewire my own heart as I think to self and self focus in all this.

Caesar:

So what does he do?

Caesar:

He shows unmerited favor.

Caesar:

He gives grace to those people and by the way, that would be you and me and everyone, you know, and that is really good news.

Caesar:

I need that.

Caesar:

I need that.

Announcer:

See God is not placing every human who thinks about self

Caesar:

and is prideful as his.

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Like I wanna destroy you.

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no he's saying I oppose that pride and here's how I do it.

Caesar:

I show you my perfect record.

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I rightly reorder things in front of you and that will humble you.

Caesar:

And, and then that humility, I that's favor that's grace actually.

Caesar:

That's actually grace.

Caesar:sense, including like Matthew:Caesar:

And I know you've heard this, he says, for those who exalt themselves will be humbled.

Caesar:

And those who humble themselves will be exalted.

Caesar:

Now let's think of that.

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What Jesus is saying here in light of what we just learned, from James.

Caesar:

Why does it exalt us?

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When we've been placed back into a correct order or understanding of our self-focused accomplishments compared to God's perfection.

Caesar:

Hmm.

Caesar:

How does that exalt us?

Caesar:

Here's why, because it helps us get back to a right understanding of the original and intended relationship with God.

Caesar:

See, instead of us thinking we can live as our own God, little G God, and manage good and evil on our own.

Caesar:

And all the while it's killing us and our relationships, this reordering of us compared to God, lifts us up closer to the life of dependence on God, dependence for his wisdom and strength and abilities and our true identity.

Caesar:

See that exalts us.

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It lifts us up back to the, the original thing, which what glorifies God, cuz it shows what he's like and it

Announcer:

gives us life the way it was always intended

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to be.

Caesar:

That sounds exalted.

Caesar:

That sounds like really good news.

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Again.

Caesar:

That sounds amazing.

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A life lived close to God and under his protection a life that's

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increasingly

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lived more and more like Jesus who lived a perfect life.

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Like heaven come to earth.

Caesar:

I want.

Caesar:

Huh, that sounds like grace to me.

Caesar:

And you know, when I think I can live my life in the place of God, making all of my decisions of, you know, good and evil, right and wrong for myself.

Caesar:

And then I blame others for not saluting or bowing down or feeling stoked about it.

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I, and I live that way.

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And then God, in his grace in kindness reveals his glory, his righteousness up against my failed attempts.

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It humbles.

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Then he shows me his grace, his favor.

Caesar:

Wow.

Caesar:

wow.

Caesar:

See, see, we don't necessarily think of it this way.

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Do we, we make it a real dark and icky weird thing and it makes us wanna hide from God.

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We know we're prideful.

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We know we're self focused.

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Who's not.

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So then you see this is very, very

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different.

Caesar:

So how could we possibly have gotten to this understanding of these verses so wrong?

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How, how have we.

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Like God, our enemy.

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And he sees us as his enemy when that's not even what that's really saying.

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In fact, that those passages about pride are really a picture of the Gospel.

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How

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could we possibly have gotten this so wrong?

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And you might be wondering

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that right now, right?

Caesar:

Well, I think that's because often we start from a small Gospel, we start from a place.

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We don't even understand the Gospel in its fullness in its bigness, in its glory.

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And

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we have spent years and years not preaching the full story.

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The full story of God in the full Gospel.

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See, so often.

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Our Gospel presentations, our good news presentations to people start in Genesis three at the fall, all have fallen short of God's glory.

Caesar:

Right.

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And they are basically are, you know, deserving of death.

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That's where we start that's right.

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And then we end our, our good news presentations in teaching of scripture, usually in revelation 20, which is what judgment.

Caesar:

That's where judgment

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occurs.

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See, so then basically our quote, good news and our lens that we teach all

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of scripture through starts in gen Genesis three at the fall ends at revelation 20 at the

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judgment of everything.

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Right?

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And so our good news sounds like

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this.

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You suck and you are gonna pay for it.

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But there's more to the story.

Caesar:

What about Genesis one and two where our good right and perfect.

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And holy God creates all things

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in their beauty and

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splendor.

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And he creates humans in his own image to be like him and be close to him and live eternally under his care and protection.

Caesar:

Right.

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And

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then sure.

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In Genesis three, we fall, we think we can create an

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identity apart from self and manage.

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Good and evil right from wrong.

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Create our own record of righteousness.

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That's what pride is, right.

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But guess

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what?

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After revelation 20, there's also revelation 21 and 22.

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There's more to the story.

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That's where God himself is coming back.

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One day here to earth to restore and renew all people, places and

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things back to the way he originally created him to be and will live forever with him in perfection and in full knowledge and wisdom.

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See, that's a much bigger, beautiful

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story.

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But when we truncate the story down to Genesis three, to revelation 20, you suck and you're gonna pay for it.

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Then it's no wonder that we take so many of these verses and they've been mistranslated.

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And then we preach

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the heck out of them.

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And they're all going almost exactly the opposite, which then doesn't help us out of our pride or our self-focus.

Caesar:

So what is the remedy for our preoccupation with self.

Caesar:

Now again, I, I wanna go back to that quote for a second.

Caesar:

From CS Lewis, he said, true humility is not thinking less of ourselves, but thinking of ourselves less.

Caesar:

And you know, as I've thought about this, I think a more accurate stating of that truth that he's

Caesar:

getting at here is

Caesar:

humility is not thinking less of yourself.

Caesar:

It's thinking rightly about yourself in comparison to God and his perfect righteousness The remedy for our preoccupation with self is a greater and growing focus and preoccupation with Jesus and his perfection, not our do to be list of accomplishments, not focusing on our failures, not working hard to see others as more and ourselves as less and not just trying hard to be a good person or a good Christian.

Caesar:

No, it's rightly seeing God for who he is in connection to ourselves.

Caesar:

We are all so focused on self throughout the day and our lives, because we still believe that we can earn our righteousness or prove our worth by the things that we do.

Caesar:

And, and then

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we

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look at the accomplishments of others and we look down our noses at them in our estimation.

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They've not done as much as us, or they've not worked as hard by the way.

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That's pride.

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Right?

Caesar:

That's there it is.

Caesar:

Again, there is such a deep seeded desire.

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For all of us to self atone that we end up completely focused on what we've done or what we've failed at and what we need to work harder at, but see either way self is the focus either way.

Caesar:

Self is the focus.

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The gospel's answer to our fallen self obsession is a great work of grace.

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In Christ.

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Jesus cried out in the cross.

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It is finished.

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So there is no more need to self atone and keep a losing scorecard on your life.

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And everyone else's.

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I hope you believe that I really do.

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That'll set you free.

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This is at the root of what it means that the kingdom of God has come and we get to live in it.

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That salvation is now ours.

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As we're working this out daily, right?

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We're starting to believe this we're moving from unbelievable belief.

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I hope you believe that it is finished.

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Tim Keller once wrote it's the normal state of the human heart to try to build its identity around something.

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Besides God.

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Spiritual pride is the illusion that we are competent to run our own lives, achieve our own sense of self worth and find a purpose big enough to give us meaning in life without God and Soren.

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ARD says that the normal human ego is built on something besides God.

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It searches for something.

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That'll give it a sense of worth a sense of specialness and a sense of purpose.

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And, and, and it builds itself on that and

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builds its whole life on that.

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And of course, as we are often reminded, if you try to put anything in the middle of the place that was originally made for God, it's gonna be too small, it's not gonna fit.

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And that's what we do with our own lives.

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Jesus finished work on our behalf creates a renewed obsession with God in his glory.

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That's worship.

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That's true worship.

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Remember earlier when we were looking at that passage in James and I said, James is telling us that how God responds to our pride, our self focus on our accomplishments or failures.

Caesar:

Put himself in the place of, or next to our attitudes about self and others, and then places him in a certain corrected place of order.

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In other words, God places, his perfect righteousness and perfect record alongside ours.

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And that frees us, that sets the record straight, so to speak in our hearts.

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And you know, what, what, what does that lead to that leads to us being able to live authentically.

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We no longer need to pretend.

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We don't have to

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try to prop up our, our image,

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our,

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our work, hard to get others, to believe some concocted version of ourselves that we're putting out there.

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We don't have to do that anymore.

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We can take the masks off and be real with people.

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We can be our true, authentic selves that we were created to be.

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And you know what else, when we start to live that way, we can be honest and let our needs be.

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Instead of acting like we're our own, you know, source of everything and nothing really bothers us.

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Everything rolls off.

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We can, you know, let our needs be known.

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Our fears can be spoken and we can let our redemption show God's at

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work here.

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We can let people see that

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the pressure's off and, and that my brothers and sisters is really, really good news.

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I, and I, and I hope you'll believe that I, and, and I think this is at the root of our preoccupation with self and, and the way out of.

Caesar:

I know, just in prepping this and just talking with you today, I feel like it's like balm to my heart.

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I feel freer.

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I feel a little, yeah.

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Right.

Caesar:

Okay.

Caesar:

Well, as always, I wanna leave you with the big three takeaways from today's topic.

Caesar:

Like I'll summarize this down into three main points.

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So if nothing else, you don't miss these.

Caesar:

Okay.

Caesar:

And by the way, you can always get a printable PDF of each week's big three as a free download by going to everyday disciple.

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Com slash big three.

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Okay.

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So here's the big three for this week.

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First humility is not thinking less of yourself.

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It's thinking rightly about yourself, especially compared to God and his perfect righteousness.

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The remedy for our preoccupation with self is a greater and growing focus and preoccupation with Jesus and his perfection.

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A focus on his completed work on our.

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It is finished.

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Remember that?

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Don't miss that.

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Okay.

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Second God knows you.

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And your full list of accomplishments, failures, sins, and unbelief, and he wants to favor you.

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He's not opposed to you.

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He desires that you would allow him to reorder and realign your understanding of him and your relationship.

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He wants to pour his love and grace and goodness.

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So deep into your heart and life that you'll grow to love him and trust him in every area of everything in your life.

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And third, would you allow God to set the record straight concerning your unrighteousness and his perfection, and then live authentically, live in freedom.

Caesar:

Let the process of your ongoing redemption show to others.

Caesar:

As like a badge of honoring glory to God and go live your life in light of Jesus' perfect record and perfect love for you.

Caesar:

And please allow others in your life to step off the scale off the treadmill and live in freedom too.

Caesar:

That's where this all leads.

Caesar:

All right.

Caesar:

Remember, you can get a free download of this big three in PDF form by going to everyday Disciple dot com slash big three.

Caesar:

This has been a great, this has been a great conversation and a great talk.

Caesar:

I, I hope.

Caesar:

You're blessed by it.

Caesar:

Like I said, just even in the sharing of this and in the thinking

Caesar:

through and praying through and researching of this, I, I feel like I've been, ah, set free

Caesar:

in some ways.

Caesar:

I hope it sticks.

Caesar:

, uh,

Caesar:

spirit of God, please make that reality.

Caesar:

All right.

Caesar:

Well, that's it for

Caesar:

now.

Caesar:

I hope you have an amazing week, whatever you're up to and we'll talk again

Caesar:

soon.

Announcer:

Thanks for joining us today.

Announcer:

For more information on this show and to get loads of free discipleship resources, visit everyday Disciple dot com.