Dealing with the Self

In Matthew 16 we have the revelation of the Christ, the Son of the living God (v. 16). In the same chapter, we also have the revelation of the self, seen in the expression of Peter’s opinion (vv. 21-23).  After the Lord told His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and die, he was taken aside by Peter and rebuked. The Lord turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan!” The Lord perceived that Satan was behind this “good” opinion. Because the self, as expressed in Peter’s opinion, was the hiding place for Satan, the Lord told his disciples that to follow Him they would need to deny the self (v. 24).

John 11 also exposes the self, this time expressed in the opinions of Martha. Four days after her brother Lazarus had died, Martha went to meet the Lord as He came to see them.  Martha first said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died,” (v. 21). Later, she said, “Lord, by now he smells, for it is the fourth day that he is there,” (v. 39). Martha’s many opinions, like Peter’s, prevented her from understanding the Lord’s new word and new revelation (vv. 23-27).

Our self is expressed in our opinions. Though we may treasure and value our opinions, we must realize that they are the expression of our self.  As such, we need to see how we must deal with the self in order to advance in our experience and growth in the divine life. A crucial stage in our experience of life is identifying and properly dealing with the self.

In order to deal with the self, we must realize an objective fact and enter into a subjective experience.  Objectively, our old man has been crucified with Christ when He went to the cross (Rom. 6:6).  However, subjectively, we must allow the Holy Spirit to work the death of the cross upon all our ideas and opinions, putting each one to death 8:2, 9, 14). This is not to “swallow” our opinion and remain silent.

Rather, we must first see that we have been crucified and then bear the cross by letting the Holy Spirit execute the crucifixion of Christ upon us (The Experience of Life, Ch. 10, IV. B.). This is the objective fact becoming our subjective experience. The basic requirement for dealing with the self is that we live in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.  This fellowship will allow the Holy Spirit to continually apply the crucifixion of Christ upon all our opinions and ideas, enabling us to properly deal with the self.

Further Reading:

Witness Lee, The Experience of Life, Chapter 10 (Nook, Kindle, iBooks, Print).

Holy Bible Recovery Version, all verses mentioned in this post and their corresponding footnotes (NookKindleiBooksPrint).

(Most references in the Further Reading can also be viewed on

One thought on “Dealing with the Self

  1. In following the Lord, we not only discover problems outside of us, but also problems in our very being, such as the flesh, self, and natural constitution. At this time we will be led by the Lord to see how the cross can solve all these difficulties pertaining to our being. Then we will have deeper dealings with regard to our inner being. This is why we say that if a Christian can enter into this stage of the experience of the cross, then a great turning point and a new beginning will be effected in his life.

    Chapter 9

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