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The Lie of "I" - 2013-07-07

The Lie of "I" - 2013-07-07

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Published by John Partridge
We are told every day that what we want is the most important thing... but what if we're wrong? Throughout scripture we see people stumble and fall because they they they were number one, all that and a bag of chips. Humility is needed.
We are told every day that what we want is the most important thing... but what if we're wrong? Throughout scripture we see people stumble and fall because they they they were number one, all that and a bag of chips. Humility is needed.

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Published by: John Partridge on Jul 07, 2013
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The Lie of “I”
July 07, 2013
Galatians 6:1-162 Kings 5:1-14 Luke 10:1-11, 16-20
How many songs can you think of that focus on the word, “I”?It starts when we’re young…“I don’t want to grow up. I’m a Toys-R-Us kid.”Then there’s “I am what I am” by Merle Haggard, and honestly, when I looked it up this week, the song lyricswebsite that I visited listed 524 pages of songs that used the word “I” in them. It is in important word, andsometimes, we use it correctly, but other times this word gets us way off course and into a lot of trouble.Sammy Davis, Jr. famously sang, “I Gotta Be Me.” In which he sings…
Whether I'm right or whether I'm wrong, Whether I find a place in this world ornever belongI gotta be me, I've gotta be me, What else can I be but what I amI want to live, not merely survive, And I won't give up this dreamOf life that keeps me alive, I gotta be me, I gotta be me The dream that I see makes me what I am, That far-away prize, a world of successIs waiting for me if I heed the call, I won't settle down, won't settle for lessAs long as there's a chance that I can have it all
While there are many admirable things to say about the song, right there at the end is where many human beings get into trouble. “I won’t settle for less as long as there’s a chance that I can have it all.” This is precisely the attitude that comes into play when we hear phrases like, “What’s in it for me?” and “I’m onlylooking out for number one.” Our culture is full of sayings and songs like these but sadly, all too often theystray across a dangerous line that today we will call, The Lie of “I.”The lie of I leads us astray. Anything (or anyone) that we put ahead of God leads us into idolatry.In the well-known story about Naaman who is healed of his leprosy by God’s prophet Elisha, Naaman, theKing of Aram, and the king of Israel all fall into the trap laid by the Lie of I.
(2 Kings 5:1-14)
 Now Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, because through him the Lord had given victory to Aram. He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy.
 Now bands of raiders from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served  Naaman’s wife.
She said to her mistress, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! Hewould cure him of his leprosy.”
 Naaman went to his master and told him what the girl from Israel had said.
“By all means, go,” the king of  Aram replied. “I will send a letter to the king of Israel.” So Naaman left, taking with him ten talents of silver,
 six thousand shekels of gold and ten sets of clothing.
The letter that he took to the king of Israel read: “Withthis letter I am sending my servant Naaman to you so that you may cure him of his leprosy.”
 As soon as the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his robes and said, “Am I God? Can I kill and bring back to life? Why does this fellow send someone to me to be cured of his leprosy? See how he is trying to pick aquarrel with me!”
When Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his robes, he sent him this message: “Whyhave you torn your robes? Have the man come to me and he will know that there is a prophet in Israel.”
So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house.
 Elisha sent amessenger to say to him, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and youwill be cleansed.”
 But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy.
 Are not Abana and  Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and becleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage.
 Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing,would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!”
So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.
First, I think that it is important to note that the King of Aram is guilty of believing the lie of I by assumingthat anyone can be bought. This is a common assumption that is made by the rich and the powerful and allthose who are accustomed to getting their way. They have simply been catered to for so long that they believethat they can have whatever they want. When the King of Aram hears that the prophet of God is able to perform miracles, he agrees to send Naaman, his commanding general, along with 750 pounds of silver (about$178,000), 150 pounds of gold (about $2.25 million), plus ten complete wardrobes from Saks Fifth Avenueand Neiman Marcus. This is a sum of money large enough that even a king would sit up and take notice.The problem is, the King of Israel can’t collect the reward because he has fallen head over heels over the Lie of I and had no idea how to bring healing to Naaman. The King of Israel has forgotten God and now believes thatthe power of Israel is his, that real power comes from being the king and through the power he has to commandsoldiers and horses and the nation itself. When he reads the letter from the King of Aram, he assumes that heis the one who must heal Naaman and he cannot. The King of Israel believes that everything revolves aroundhim and that everything is
him, and so he thinks that the King of Aram is doing all of this to pick a fightwith him. He remembers then that he is not all powerful saying, “Am I God?” But even then he forgetscompletely that with only a little humility, he could ask God for help.Elisha hears about the distress of the King and sends word that Naaman should come to him because God stillhas a prophet in Israel. But when Naaman comes to visit Elisha, the prophet of God will not even answer thedoor. Instead, he sends a messenger to tell Naaman to wash seven times in the Jordan River. And then Naaman, another man who is accustomed to getting his way, trips over the “Lie of I” and falls flat on his face. Naaman cannot get over the idea that God’s prophet would not meet with him face to face. Surely Naaman isimportant, powerful, and well-known. Certainly, he has been sent by both the King of Aram
the King of Israel. Surely he is important enough for a big, flashy healing and not something as simple as a dip in theriver. Even then, the rivers back home simply must be as good as some river in Israel. Thankfully, Naaman’s2
servants calmly remind him that a little humility will cost him nothing and so he does as Elisha has asked andis healed.All three of these men, The Kings of Aram and Israel, and Naaman, failed when they believed “the Lie of I”and that is the same message that we hear so often in modern songs and culture… 
am the most important thing.Paul warns about this same sort of thing in
Galatians 6:1-16.
 Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
 If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves.
 Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else,
 for each one should carry their own load.
 Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction inthe word should share all good things with their instructor.
 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.
Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.
 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the familyof believers.
See what large letters I use as I write to you with my own hand!
Those who want to impress people by means of the flesh are trying to compel you to be circumcised. The onlyreason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ.
 Not even those who are circumcised keep the law, yet they want you to be circumcised that they may boast about your circumcision in the flesh.
 May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
 Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the newcreation.
 Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule—to the Israel of God.
 From now on, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters. Amen.
There are two things here that I want to draw your attention to in this passage. First, Paul says “
 If anyonethinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves.”
If someone believes that they aresomething, when they are not, they have believed the “Lie of I.”
am something.
am the most important.Second, “
Those who want to impress people by means of the flesh are trying to compel you to be circumcised.”
This second one is a little harder so I want to unpack it for you. Paul built his ministry preaching to theGentiles, Greeks, Romans and others who were never Jewish or a part of Hebrew religious practices. These people (the men obviously) were never circumcised and the church leaders in Jerusalem had all agreed thatthere was no need for them to do so in order to follow Christ. There were, however, preachers who were preaching that circumcision was necessary to belong to the “real” church. Paul says that these preachers, whowere trying to impress people “by means of the flesh” were trying to persuade the church to do things that itdidn’t need to do. So what does, “by means of the flesh” mean? I imagine that these preachers were using anyand all of those things that we like physically or that impress us physically. These things are good food, prettywomen (or men), nice clothes, fancy houses and many other things that I’m sure you can think of on your own.3

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