One can scarcely imagine what it would be like, over a span of some 60 years, to house and care for 10,024 children. George Muller did so, and what was most outstanding, he did so without disclosing his financial needs to anyone but God. Self-interests were subordinated to the divine will, and God honored the effort. The secret of his success was disclosed when he made this observation:
“There was a day when I died; died to self, my opinion, preferences, tastes and will; died to the world, its approval or censure; died to the approval or blame even of my brethren or friends; and since then I have studied only to show myself approved of God (from AZ Quotes, George Muller Quotes). Additionally, he founded 117 schools, and provided education to more than 120,000 children prior to his death in 1898 (Wikipedia, George Muller).
It is almost impossible for any of us to reach that level of self-sacrifice, even when our surrender is to God. I believe it can be stated that, almost without exception, every human conflict comes down to the issue of self. Some call it the ego, the Bible calls it the flesh, but whatever you call it, self demands to be King! Self is in the docket; it has been tried and found guilty.
I have been humbled, shamed, and distressed beyond words to discover that after years of prayer, self-discipline and living by my Christian convictions, my self is still clamoring to believe the world revolves around me! I was, of course, born that way. Within just a few moments after birth, my Doctor thought I needed a “good one” across the backside. Ten minutes old, and my temper exploded! I let the world know what I thought of these miserable creatures called people. I began life demanding my own way. Although restricted by common sense, my parents, and the law, I have continued to demand my own way ever since.
“Every person … is seeking to build and establish his own self-image, his own self, his own empire. The most naturally loving and kind are yet fully “selfish.”… [O]utside of the lordship of the Lord Jesus Christ, the flesh will rule and destroy (Sandford, Restoring the Christian Family, Ch. 11).
My personal faith is strong, but I must admit that dealing with self-centered tendencies is tough. I’d rather play the fiddle and have the rest of the world dance to my tune! I want to be a cut above … the best there is … the most admired. You know what I mean; it’s the same old song!
Many of us have a sincere desire to model the Master; we just want to do so on our own terms! Man’s way and God’s way have been in conflict ever since those heady days in the Garden of Eden. By nature, we don’t want anyone – including God – to tell us how to live. I, too, would enjoy a life of unrestrained freedom, if only I could avoid the consequences.
I am still motivated by the drive to be supreme. I am also pleased to tell you I am changing, and, despite the struggle, I remain positive. I believe in a God of the impossible, a God of second chances. As I have often signed-off in my journal, PBPGITWMY! Please be patient; God isn’t through with me yet!