Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life.
Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God. That person ignores who God is and what he is doing.
And God isn't pleased at being ignored.
But if God himself has taken up residence in your life, you can hardly be thinking more of yourself than of him. Anyone, of course, who has not welcomed this invisible but clearly present God, the Spirit of Christ, won't know what we're talking about.
But for you who welcome him, in whom he dwells - even though you still experience all the limitations of sin - you yourself experience life on God's terms.
It stands to reason, doesn't it, that if the alive-and-present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, he'll do the same thing in you that he did in Jesus, bringing you alive to himself? When God lives and breathes in you (and he does, as surely as he did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life. With his Spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ's!
So don't you see that we don't owe this old do-it-yourself life one red cent.
There's nothing in it for us, nothing at all. The best thing to do is give it a decent burial and get on with your new life.
God's Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go!
This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It's adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike "What's next, Papa?"
God's Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)