This quote was part of my devotional reading this morning. The author is Hannah Whitall Smith, a Quaker.
“The greatest burden we have to carry in life is self. The most difficult thing we have to manage is self. Our own daily living, our frames and feelings, our especial weaknesses and temptations, and our peculiar temperaments–our inward affairs of every kind–these are the things that perplex and worry us more than anything else, and that bring us oftenest into bondage and darkness. In laying off your burdens, therefore, the first one you must get rid of is yourself. You must hand yourself and all your inward experiences, your temptations, your temperament, your frames and feelings, all over into the care and keeping of your God, and leave them there. He made you and therefore He understands you, and knows how to manage you, and you must trust Him to do it.”
This reminded me of one of Martin Luther’s quotes:
“I am more afraid of my own heart than of the pope and all his cardinals. I have within me the great pope, Self.”
I agree with both of these great Christians, that the most besetting sin I deal with is selfishness. It’s hard to sacrifice my own comfort, desires and preferences for somebody else. Yet our calling as Christians is to put others first. I can only hope to do this in small steps, day by day because selfishness is my default position. Often I fail, but I keep plodding away. I try to help when asked. I try to give more generously. I try to not expect more from others than they are willing to give. I try to have patience (this s a hard one). I try to trust God in this process of sanctification. In a class I took years ago about spiritual direction, we were told to know our own sinful tendencies and ‘lean away from them.” How about you? Do you struggle with the great pope, self? How do you lean away from it?
For more Hannah Whitall quotes see these posts:
What Damages our Spiritual Life? (according to Hannah Whitall Smith)
How to Recognize a Christian
For more Martin Luther quotes see these posts:
Martin Luther on Serving Others
Martin Luther on Sin