(NOTE: From time to time, we will feature posts by guest bloggers. This is the first such post. Enjoy!)
A moment of thought for myself (my goals, my wants, my ambition, my agenda, my approval rating, etc.) disrupts my focus on Him. The consequence of which can be a minute to a day to a week of destruction before I realize He is gone and I am on my own quest. Moreover, this focus on myself hinders my usefulness to Him. How to explain?
When my parents dropped me off at college, and drove back to Atlanta, I was so excited. Autonomy. Independence. What would I do or not do first?! As it turns out, my choices included not studying, not keeping any sort of order in my dorm room, spending precious money recklessly on all manner of unnecessary items, drinking excessively, staying up all night, etc. I basically reenacted the behavior of the Prodigal Son once he got his inheritance . . . but without the inheritance. My behavior was driven completely by what I wanted, and what I, as an 18 year old, arrogantly thought mattered. This chapter of my life ended in a spectacular crash and burn. I destroyed an amazing opportunity to be educated at one of the top universities in the country because I was so focused on satisfying my destructive self. Ever merciful, He offered me redemption and pulled me up from that crash and burn. But the pattern continued.
This is essentially what occurs EVERY time I focus on self instead of Him. He does not violate my free will. He lets me choose rebellion – my thoughts, my rights, my way. And I make a mess. Every. Single. Time. Sometimes the messes are smaller and less noticeable to others. Other times the messes reach epic proportions. But one thing is constant: when I take my focus off of Him, and decide to satisfy myself, the only possible result is a big mess. And only His bountiful mercy and love can lift me out of it.
While I am on myself, I am the enemy of His will. And at times (usually), I am actively destroying His reputation. See, I am arrogant enough to think I can get away with a little thought or idea about me here or there. But my self is like a drug, and one little thought or idea is never enough to satisfy. And I quickly spiral into total selfishness and self-absorption. All the while, I might be outwardly proclaiming His Lordship of me. And so, in addition to whatever direct havoc my focus on self inflicts on me and those around me, there are spiritual consequences. Those who are His will be violated by this lie, and those who are not His will question why they would want to be.
Thus, I am the biggest weapon the enemy has in his arsenal to hinder my usefulness to God.