Amongst my many papers, gathered over the years, is a small tract, written anonymously several decades ago, which came to light once again when I was sorting out, and which I believe may be of help to some. It is entitled “Traits of the self-life”.
The following are some of the features and manifestations of the self-life. The Spirit alone can interpret and apply this to your individual case. As you read, examine yourself as if in the immediate presence of God. Are you ever conscious of :–
A secret spirit of pride, an exalted feeling, in view of your success or position; because of your good training and appearance; because of your natural gifts and abilities. An important, independent spirit. Stiffness and preciseness?
Love of human praise; a secret fondness to be noticed; love of supremacy; drawing attention to self in conversation; a swelling out of self when you have had a free time in speaking or praying?
The stirrings of anger or impatience, which, worst of all, you call nervousness or holy indignation; a touchy, sensitive spirit; a disposition to resent and retaliate when reproved or contradicted; a desire to throw sharp, heated flings at another?
Self-will; a stubborn unteachable spirit; and arguing, talkative spirit; harsh, sarcastic expressions; and unyielding, headstrong disposition; a driving, commanding spirit; a disposition to criticise and pick flaws when set aside and unnoticed; a peevish, fretful spirit; a disposition that loves to be coaxed and humoured?
Carnal fear; a man-fearing spirit; a shrinking from reproach and duty; reasoning around your cross; a shrinking from doing your whole duty by those of wealth or position; a fearfulness that someone will get out of the spirit and thus offend and drive some prominent person away; a compromising spirit?
A jealous disposition; a secret spirit of envy shut up in your heart; an unpleasant sensation in view of the great prosperity and success of another; a disposition to speak of the faults and failings, rather than the gifts and virtues of those more talented and appreciated than yourself?
Lustful stirrings; unholy actions; undue inclinations and familiarity towards those of the opposite sex; wandering eyes?
A dishonest, deceitful disposition; the evading and covering of the truth; the covering up of your real faults; the leaving of a better impression of yourself than is strictly true; false humility; exaggeration; straining the truth?
Unbelief; a spirit of discouragement in times of pressure and opposition; lack of quietness and confidence in God; lack of faith and trust in God; a disposition to worry and complain in the midst of pain, poverty, or at the dispensations of Divine Providence; an over-anxious feeling whether everything will come out all right?
Formality and deadness; lack of concern for lost souls; dryness and indifference; lack of power with God?
Selfishness; love of ease; love of money?
These are some of the traits which generally indicate a carnal heart. By prayer and fasting hold your heart open to the searchlight of God, until you see the groundwork thereof. The Holy Spirit will enable you, by confession and faith, to bring your “self-life” to the death. Do not patch over, but go to the bottom. It will pay. Hallelujah!
“Oh to be saved from myself, dear Lord,
Oh to be lost in Thee;
Oh that it might be no more I,
But Christ that lives in me.”