The flesh, the world and the pride of life will cause us to be self-centered, shifting our hearts from God to self. Our default mode is self-centeredness. The Spirit guides us away from such slavery. The essence of salvation is an about-face from self-centeredness to God-centeredness. The Christian must spend a lifetime denying self and turning self towards the other and God. Our great temptation will be to affirm ourselves while we follow Jesus. James and John did this when they chose to follow Jesus but asked for the two most prominent positions in Jesus’ kingdom (Mark 10:35-37). James and John wanted a discipleship that would not impede their selfish desires and aspirations. Like them, we say, “Lord, I want to be pleasing to you, but I am not open to change and rethink my life.”
Self-centered people try to keep their lives undisturbed, safe and secure. Our temptation is to give our time and effort to the goals of this world. Then, when we are successful in the world’s eyes, we seek to bring God, I want to give God the glory for it!” God is not interested in receiving secondhand glory from our activity. God receives glory from His activity through our lives.
The world will entice you to adopt its values, goals and to invest in temporal things. Resist the temptation to pursue your own goals, asking God to bless them. Rather, deny yourself and join the activity of God as He reveals it to you. Invest in people. Sacrifice yourself. Live life acknowledging that we will one day return to the dust we can from.