Finding God's Winning Spirit

Me First: The Centered Self (Part II)

January 9, 2015 | Greg Smith | Focus


“Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves; that Jesus Christ is in you – unless indeed you fail the test?”

 2 Corinthians 13:5


In last week’s offering (Me First – The Centered Self) I talked about the importance of “self”. The message was that we need to spend and exert whatever time and effort it takes to understand ourselves.  Knowing ourselves is important because “we” are the foundation upon which all relationships fall. “I” am important because I am the only consistent thing in every situation that occurs. In essence “I” is all I can control. Knowing this brings rise to personal accountability not selfishness.

Me First is just my attempt to start the conversation (some say trouble) about our responsibility to be, self-aware, introspective and personally accountable. In short, to become self-balanced (centered). Last week we talked about how knowing self was important in things like customer service, sports and even marriage. Nowhere is the understanding of “self” more important than when applied to our Christian Faith.

We must never forget that the Christian Faith is about a relationship; the relationship between a loving God and His creation based on this love. One of the most powerful "relationship passages" in the Bible is about “the self”. Jesus says tells us this, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?  How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:3-5).

This is the primer on the importance of the centered-self.

It is clear to me that what Jesus is saying is that before we begin to save the world and/or others, we need to check ourselves. Before we attempt to determine what is best for those around us we need to make sure our house is in order. In this context focusing on ourselves is not being selfish at all but rather is about being personally honest and accountable. This will require you spending some time with you and me spending some time with ME. 

I know that this passage refers specifically to the judgment of others (which is not recommended by the way) but it goes beyond that. How long do you think the process of “taking a plank” out of one’s eye takes? This does not happen over the weekend; it is a process that takes place continually.  This continual self-evaluation is what Christian growth is all about. This self-reflection will require time and attention that only you can provide for you and I can provide for me. As a brother in Christ I will not spend time evaluating the work you need to do. As a fellow sinner, I will simply say, Me First.


Let us examine and probe our ways, and let us return to the LORD. “

Lamentations 3:40

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