If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him . . . follow Me
Seeking to overcome self by self-effort is a hopeless struggle. Self will never cast out self, because an independent self motivated by the flesh still wants to be God. We must follow Christ by being led by the Holy Spirit down the path of death to self-rule. As Paul wrote: "We who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus' sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh" (2 Corinthians 4:11).
This may sound like a dismal path to walk, but I assure you that it is not. It is a tremendous experience to be known by the Shepherd and to follow Him as obedient, dependent sheep (John 10:27). The fact that we are led by the Spirit of God, even when it results in the death to self-rule, is our assurance of sonship (Romans 8;14). We were not designed to function independently of God. Only when we are dependent on Him and intent on following Christ are we complete and free to prove that the will of God is good, acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:2).
Self-rule is motivated by self-interest and supported only by self-centered resources. When we come to the end of our resources, we discover God's resources. God will let us do our thing and patiently wait until self-interest and self-rule leave us spiritually and emotionally bankrupt. We can turn to God any time we weary of trying to run our own lives independently of Him. He doesn't force Himself on us; He just simply says, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him... follow Me." Are you willing to forsake self-rule and follow Him?
Prayer: Loving Shepherd, I desire Your will for my life, and I purpose today to follow You in obedience and dependence.