Okay, maybe the title is a bit sarcastic. Actually, it is "self" that often causes me great problems.
Years ago, I was the minister to a church that met on the campus of a Bible college. The school and the church were their own separate entities. Yet, there was some overlap. After all, I taught part-time at the college (a senior level ministry class each semester). One Sunday, a man employed by the school was in our assembly. He approached me afterward and said that he was scheduled to preach in chapel that week and would like to use much of what I had just said in that morning’s sermon. I said something like "sure" and went on. As I recall, I felt encouraged that he wanted to use much of that material for his own message.
That week, I was in chapel and heard his message. It was very familiar — very, very familiar. Maybe I just wanted him to acknowledge that he heard much of this last Sunday morning in our assembly. Yet, not one word.
This bothered me.
This bothered me — a lot.
Why was this so important to me? For some reason it was. But the problem soon became mine. My anger. My resentment. My ego.
Sometimes, it appears that I "let things go" outwardly far more quickly than I really do inwardly. Inwardly, when I am offended, irritated, or aggravated with someone, I can throw this offense into my stew-pot of resentments and allow it to simmer along with the rest of these wrongs. Doesn’t exactly sound like death to self, does it? No, I’m working on this one.
Meanwhile, I was reading A. W. Tozer this morning. He writes concerning the "self":
It is woven of the fine threads of the self-life, the hyphenated sins of the human spirit. They are not something we do, they are something we are, and therein lies both their subtlety and their power.
To be specific, the self sins are self-righteousness, self-pity, self-confidence, self-sufficiency, self-admiration, self-love and a host of others like them. They dwell too deep within us and are too much a part of our natures to come to our attention till the light of God is focused upon them. The grosser manifestations of these sins — egotism, exhibitionism, self-promotion — are strangely tolerated in Christian leaders, even in circles of impeccable orthodoxy….
(Tozer, The Pursuit of God, p. 42)
Perhaps this is familiar territory. If not, wonderful. I do suspect there are many who identify with this.