It’s amazing the many ways our egos lead us astray. We all have one, but if we are not careful it can master us. At times I have to check myself. For instance, whenever I feel that I had been wronged and think about getting even, I know it’s the ego. However justified I may be, and plotting how I am going to show them, it really is the ego taking charge. I recall the Apostle Paul’s words in Romans 7: 21-23 MSG, “It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.” I can definitely relate to this!
Don’t think you are at the beck and call of your ego? How many times in the past week have you cut off someone in mid-sentence to get your point across, not considered another person’s viewpoint, reacted irrationally to a request, and was not in the least perturbed about offending someone? You believe you are always right and no one can correct you.
Sometimes it takes a tragedy to bring out our humility and empathy for others. Eckhart Tolle, an author and spiritual teacher, puts it this way, “There have been many people for whom limitations, failure, loss, or pain in whatever form turned out to be their greatest teacher. It taught them to let go of false self-images and superficial ego-dictated goals and desires. It gave them depth, humility, and compassion. It made them more real.”
We shouldn’t have to wait for a catastrophe to open our eyes to our egotistical tendencies, the cost of which can be enormous both financially and emotionally. We can beat those inclinations by being in the present moment. When the reflex reaction comes up, as it surely will, be aware of what’s going on and stay in that moment. What we spend our time and energy on and how we share our love are good indicators of what’s running our lives—and we don’t want that to be the ego. Paul further stated, “I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question? The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.” Romans 7: 24-25 MSG. With Christ on our side, we can do it!