Self focus can be a bad thing, but we all have to think of ourselves. What is the difference between a self-focus in the negative sense, and viewing myself as dead to sin but alive to Christ Jesus?
|Old Self (in Adam)||New Self (in Christ)|
|Alienated from God - Therefore, we think of our old self on a horizontal plane--me vs. my problems, others, circumstances, etc.||Alive to God - Therefore, we think of our new selves on both a horizontal and a vertical plane. Our interactions with others, our problems, circumstances, etc. are all considered in the light of how God is, or may be, working through them.|
|Doomed to death - Therefore, everything is temporary, and temporary things are valuable. We spend our time trying to acquire or hold onto temporary things like material wealth.||Guaranteed eternal life - Therefore, temporary things become only means to an end. Only things that are eternal have ultimate value (like God, the truth, and people). Our stewardship of material and natural things in this life is important, mainly because these will affect our future lives with God.|
|Alone, with unmet needs - Therefore, we look to others to meet the hunger of loneliness by loving us the right way. Much of our thought lives are spent trying to understand why others won't meet our needs, or how to make them meet our needs. In our pain, we pity ourselves and are often angry at God and others.||In Union with Christ and with other Christians - Our needs are met fully in Christ (Romans 12:5; Ephesians 1:3) Therefore, our focus is on how we can meet the needs of others. Instead of pitying ourselves, we find ourselves praising God for his provision.|
|Unclear sense of identity (like the man in the bubble) - Therefore, we doubt our own acceptability, and spend time seeking acceptance and affirmation from other people who assure us we are an important person. We spend much of our thought lives fretting about what others think of us.||Identity based on God's view of us - Therefore, we become less concerned about what others think of us. We are able to leave the question of who we are behind, as a settled matter, and direct our thoughts outward, increasingly free from self-doubt and man-pleasing.|
|Guilty of sin - We feel guilty because we are guilty. When our mind is set on the old self, we experience an abiding sense of shame that depresses and robs us of motivation. Our focus locks increasingly onto self, bringing distance into all our relationships.||Forgiven completely, dead to sin - We are able to look away from sin, laying it aside at the cross of Christ. Our thought life is spent contemplating how we may accomplish spiritual goals, not on how we failed earlier.|