God tested Abraham’s faith to determine the depth of his patience and the length of his obedience. His experience translates directly into our Christian life.
We all have egos. They identify us as persons. They empower our resistance to those who would otherwise victimize in some way, taking advantage of the lack of self-awareness ego provides. Indeed, those without a strong sense of identity give tyrants the chance to brutalize them.
However, we must understand, accept and obey this principle: the sole, useful purpose ego has to God is as the object of self-denial! Jesus made it the first requirement of discipleship the first time he clearly discussed his death Matthew 16:24.
God and we cannot exist together as equals. And he will NEVER exist as our inferior. If we insist on determining truth, he’ll allow us the freedom, but will NEVER use us as positive servants. To the extent we insist on having our way in discipleship—what we believe, what we give, how we’ll live, how often we attend worship services, etc.,—to that extent God will use us. And that won’t be much!
Now...a warning...if we say to Jesus, “I’ll play no part, you’re the whole show; I’m out of the way, you alone live in me; I have no opinion but what you allow and no limit on what you expect from me....”
IF we say these things, expect God to test us, to see if we’re telling the truth or blowing smoke; filling the air with oaths without substance or self-sacrificing obedience.
Whether we know it or not; like it or not; accept it or not, GOD intends to kick us out of our life as ruler and move in himself! And only if we invite him to clean our house—to empty it completely if it pleases him; to move in any habit or obedience he wants us to develop; to crucify every habit and disobedience that disgraces, not graces, Jesus—do we practice self-denial.
No matter the amount of water used, we can always wash gold from the words of Jesus. And when the water is depleted, much more gold remains for discovery. But only when we deny self so Jesus can Live in us. End Part III