What does it mean to be controlled by your own interests?
When our self is on the throne of our hearts, whatever situation or circumstance presents itself on a daily basis will reveal whether we are being guided by our own interests or not.
There is so much emphasis today on accepting Jesus into your life and heart, and depending on what ‘Church’ you go to, the emphasis can be on serving, missions, following certain rules, giving money, etc.
But the Bible is clear about what is most important and what should be the thing that is guiding our lives and hearts on a daily basis:
Jesus said in Luke 9:23:
“And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”
If you read the old testament books, the heart cry of God is “REPENT. TURN UNTO ME. SET YOUR HEART ON ME. I AM GOD ALONE!”
And even in the New Testament letters by Paul the Apostle, He is always seen as exposing the truth to the body of Christ by explaining to them that it is not about keeping a bunch of rules and laws, but about a surrendering to the Spirit of God and setting our hearts on Christ alone.
THEY ARE SUBTLE
Our own interests are really subtle. One day we can be totally convinced that our heart is set on pleasing, knowing, and worshipping Christ alone, and then the next day, when circumstances or trials or things happen that are out of our control come, we are exposed, and we see that after all, our own interests were much stronger than our desire to please Christ and know Him only and worship Him alone.
How does this happen? How can it be that one day we are purely devoted to Christ in our hearts, and the very next, we are tossed and turned by every thing that happens?
It is because we were cherishing our own interests blindly!
EVEN IF WE PLAN FOR WHAT “MIGHT” HAPPEN AND VOW THAT WE WILL NOT BE SHAKEN BY WHAT MAY COME—–OUR WORDS MEAN NOTHING IF WE HAVE OUR OWN INTERESTS IN OUR HEARTS!
This is happened to me!
Note —– Whenever a child of God sets their heart to be utterly for God alone, purely devoted, wholly surrendered, and focused on seeking His presence—–all of hell will break loose to interrupt, destroy, steal, and deceive that person in order to keep them from entering the Promised Land of Abiding in the Presence of Christ Jesus. Because satan knows that when wer are purely devoted to Christ, and we have our hearts set on HIM ALONE, our words are backed by the Holy Spirit’s Power, and when we speak and minister to others, the Holy Spirit is able to work in that person’s heart!
The very next day after I started this blog, my life fell apart on every side. I was in a place with God that I long to be in for the rest of my days—-abiding in Christ, enjoying fellowship with the Father, full of Joy, being led of the Spirit, ministering to the body, and being full of the Holy Spirit! But when my husband quit his job, when we lost the insurance and my son had to get surgery a few days later, and I lost all my time alone, and then summer came and school was let out, and things were not going as I would have liked them to——- my eyes were taken off of Christ and placed onto my OWN INTERESTS, my CIRCUMSTANCES, and the mountain of difficulty standing in front of me.
I tried to stay focused on Christ, and through each day even, the Lord was reminding me that HE WAS ALL I NEEDED TO BE CONTENT, I fell for the lies, and I fell face first into the pit of “YOUR OWN INTERESTS”.
My own interests revealed my divided heart.
We have 2 choices on a daily basis of what our hearts are for:
- THE PRESENCE AND POWER OF THE LORD THROUGH HIS SPIRIT WORKING IN OUR HEARTS.
- OUR OWN INTERESTS.
When our own interests are our treasure, we will always be thinking about how things AFFECT us. How situations/circumstances/decisions AFFECT US.
When the Presence of God is our treasure, we will always be thinking about HIS END, and HIS PURPOSES. We will not have any second considerations.
Think about that for a minute.
I thought I wanted what only God wanted, but obviously I didn’t. My own interests were more important.
What happens when our own interests are ruling?
- Loss of joy
- Loss of intimacy with Christ (and in my case, with my husband)
- Loss of the Spirit’s power/presence
- Loss of the fruit of the Spirit
- Controlled by pride
This doesn’t sound very good. When we are faced with daily life and all its issues, circumstances, changes, etc.—— how can we be truly, utterly, wholeheartedly surrendered to the Purposes of God without falling for the lies that seek to steal our hearts from abiding in Christ?
- We must be truly seeking our heart satisfaction in CHRIST ALONE each day. We must be aware of the things that seek to steal our hearts from being purely set on finding our deepest needs met by Christ.
- We must be painfully aware of anything else that we are seeking our joy in except Christ, because whatever else we are seeking our joy in becomes a tool in satan’s hands to distract us and keep our eyes off Christ and on idolatry! When we are seeking joy in anything else, we are sinning. If we are seeking our life in Christ, we will not look to lesser things to satisfy us.
- We must seek each day to be filled with God’s Spirit because when we are filled with Him, our minds and hearts are in a constant fellowship with Him. When things happen throughout each day, we will be able to see His hand, and we thank Him for all His blessings, and we go to Him when things are hard and we pray about it, and leave it at His feet.
- We must give thanks in ALL THINGS, the Bible says. I remember reading the story of Corrie Ten Boom, “The Hiding Place”, about her and her sister’s experiences going through the holocaust. They ended up in a concentration camp where the building they were assigned to was known for having the most lice. Corrie was tempted to complain, but her sister reminded her to give thanks always. After some time, Corrie came to realize that giving thanks even in that horrible thing was the right way, because it turned out that not one guard would come into the building because of the lice problem, therefore Corrie and her sister had all the day long to share the gospel with their fellow prisoners! Even in the most horrible thing, we are to give thanks! (This story is eye opening, by the way.)
- We must seek to be ever conscious of our inability to will and to do without God’s Spirit. We ahve no power in and of urselves to do/be what God desires. We must be filled with His spirit and trusting in GOD to work in our hearts to accomplish His purposes always.
- We must be open to instruction, exhortation, and warning by anyway God desires to show us something. We must remain humble and open to what God wants to teach us in all things.
- We must be still, waiting upon God for Him to lead and guide us in the right way.
- We must surrender DAILY to God and allow Him to sanctify us!
This isn’t intended to be a “list” to check off to make sure we are “ok”. These are just some practical ways to stay focused on Christ in and through each day and all the things we have to face.
I went wrong when I allowed my eyes to wander off of Christ, and onto other things to satisfy me. I was hoping in things working out how I wanted in order to keep me satisfied.
But God will never allow competition for our hearts. He will thwart our efforts to find satisfaction and peace and joy and contentment in other things. We are only safe when we consciously decide to seek after HIM ALONE. Even though it is extremely painful and hard, we have to be willing to let go of the things that we are holding onto more than Christ. It is the only way to freedom.
How did I come out of this?
It wasn’t until I realized once again that I have absolutely NO CONTROL over life or other people or circumstances that my mind was freed and turned back to focusing on Christ alone to meet my deepest needs. And there was instant peace. When I let go, and decided that I am not God, and I don’t know what is best for me, God’s peace flooded my soul. I repented of the things/ways I was seeking satisfaction, and I trusted in Christ to cleanse me from it. I received His word and His love.
Whatever may come, I pray that the Spirit work in our hearts to open our eyes to every thing that seeks to steal our hearts from pure devotion to Christ!